The longest day
White light streams off dewy fields. Steam rises off the road’s shiny asphalt surface. The dawn feels soupy as we stroll north on SH6, coast on the left, farmland on the right. Already sweating we turn inland at the Wanganui Valley access road and clamber gratefully into the coolness of Tarpot Creek. After a bit of a wallow up the creek bed we identify the tired track, periodically resuscitated with tape by hunters. The ground trail of the hunted is easier to spot and sometimes we follow it instead. The forest starts off reasonably open and pliant by West Coast standards but we’re soon climbing and sidling a bush face to reach a side ridge. The side ridge connects to the ridge that leads to the Karnbach Range. By now we are negotiating barely penetrable scrub about the same time the gradient tilts to precipitous. Topping out on the crest of the Karnbach my arms are pumped, my hair is full of twigs, expletives are flowing as easily as a shortness of breath will allow and I’m wondering why I’m not jetting up the Landsborough. DJ points behind me to the Lord Range and the view of the snowy top of Mt Lambert and the Lambert Glacier at the edge of the Garden of Allah. We all grin recalling Xmas 2009.