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Walking to the Snout in Picton – Day 40
Friday 6th May 2005
At this point in time I have just travelled from the North Island of New Zealand to the South Island, and my current location is Picton. While here I wanted to take the opportunity to do a little exploring. And that is what today was all about. I just didn’t realise just how much exploring I would eventually end up doing.
It was another one of those days where I woke up and had breakfast. This routine worked for me, and I saw no reason to change it, especially not today. I had a walk planned for the day, a walk that should take me to the Snout. This is a piece of land that protruded out into the sea, and the views all around from this spot were rumoured to be out of this world. It sounded like a place I wanted to go, so my feet would hopefully take me there today. The views along the way would also reveal some great bays and a lovely harbour, so I’m told.
I packed a few provisions – lunch mainly – and headed in the direction of the starting point. I found it without too much hassle, and the sign told me – as well as a small guide I had in my possession – that the walk would take a few hours in total. I could go at a leisurely pace and make it last most of the day if I could. I didn’t realise at this point just how accurate this would turn out to be.
The route was fairly well sign posted, as it was a single track most of the way. After a while into the walk, though, the path opened to an expanse of land, and the signs seemed to be more elusive around here. I found one sign that pointed into a tree, and the route would lead me into fenced-off land. I was sure this wasn’t right. I carried on in the direction I was already going, hoping to find another sign – or indeed another human – somewhere up ahead. Neither happened, and I found myself walking down a path that I wasn’t sure where it would lead. It was quite overgrown, and looking over the vegetation for clues of my whereabouts was all but impossible. I carried on.
After much walking I emerged from a not-so-well trodden path, and onto a road surface that stretched out towards the harbour that I had hoped to see from the top of the mountainside. As it was, I was at ground level looking up to where I should have been. I took a wrong turn and veered off course drastically. And what made it worse was that I instinctively knew I was going the wrong way, but persevered in the vain hope that the path would somehow lead me to the Snout. It didn’t, and now I was stuck with the realisation of having to back track up the slope, and towards the pathway I actually needed. After taking some pictures, I headed back up the path.
On the way back I thought I would be clever and take what looked like a short cut. Once I had looped back onto the path I had already walked, I could verify that it was not a short cut. I had now passed this same patch of earth 3 times, and was beginning to get a little frustrated with my decision making.
After much terrible navigation, I eventually arrived at the Snout. The path opened up onto a small grassy area occupied by a wooden table and bench. A family was eating their lunch on said table, and their reaction to me arriving and spoiling their alone time was evidently one of slight annoyance. I made myself scarce for a while as I investigated some of the surrounding trees, then I made my way back to the Snout to take some pictures, not caring about the family already there. It is a free world after all, or at least should be. At this point the family were packing up to go anyway, so I parked myself on the table and devoured my lunch.
The views were quite notable, yet limited in my opinion. Some of the trees and bush had overgrown and restricted the field of view somewhat. It didn’t matter though, I was just happy to be there at last.
On the way back I stumbled across a very overgrown pathway that looked as though it led down to a small beach. The temptation was too much for me, and I decided to negotiate the thick bush and make my way down the steep path towards a deserted shingle beach. I tripped once or twice but I made it without too much drama. And I am very glad I did.
The beach was untouched and my newly formed footprints were the only prints to mark the soft shingle. In the water I could see hundreds of jellyfish, all gently swaying with the soft underwater current, as the small waves lapped against the shoreline. One such jellyfish had washed up onto the shore. Amazingly, though, no amount of prodding it with a stick could bring it back to life. It was, in fact, dead.
I made it back to the hostel later on in the day, some 7 or 8 hours after I had set out, and my legs were close to collapse. I had a shower and my feet and legs were very sore. I later hobbled around the supermarket for my dinner, then came back to the hostel to eat the dinner, oddly enough. I sat and rested for the evening after booking a hostel in Nelson for tomorrow.
It has been hard work today, but I have seen a lot and had a good days worth of exploring, which is what I intended. I just didn’t expect to get so lost in the process. I shall probably sleep well tonight.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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