Walking on Cape Campbell
Hiking out in the open on the Cape Campbell Walkway - what a refreshing change from walking back and forth, around and around my own garden! Fifty-seven kilometres, four full days, with a topographical map and a hand-drawn guide - and brilliant weather.
Walking the Track
My day pack was stuffed with my Gore-Tex parka, extra warm layers, journal, snack food, and lots of water. Conditions were perfect. The accommodation hut books, however, were full of stories from other hikers who'd had seven hour battles in driving wind and rain.
Up and Down and Up and Down...
I've never spent seven hours outdoors gardening in the cold wind and rain - but on an organised track like this one I wouldn't get much choice! It was a privilege to be walking over a piece of clean, green, privately-owned New Zealand in relative comfort. So lucky, weather-wise!
The time scale of hiking is delightful. In an hour a walker can move an impressively long way. They may be rewarded with a new view or brought back 'down to earth' with a new hill.
One Foot After the Other
One foot inevitably follows the other, and hikers have their own tricks for going up horrible slopes - counting to fifty before resting, or singing old Sting songs in time to their trudging. I do the latter - 'Every breath you taaaaake... Every step you maaaaake...'
Sea Views and Saddles
As its name implies, Cape Campbell offers sea views. These are the most rewarding of all, after staring down at manured farm grass, up to the sky and a grassy saddle. That looks a long way up - aargh! 'Every breath you taaaaake... Every step you maaaaake...'
Conditions 'underboot' vary, with just a few benched farm tracks, tiny stretches on gravel roads, and flat tracks by the beach. Often walkers pick out their own way to the next track marker - following sheep tracks is fun!
Following Sheep Tracks
The terrain is undulating, so there's a lot of sidling and skirting, and probably more 'ups and downs' than 'alongs'. But I love the simplicity of wearing decent boots and good socks, and then letting my feet and legs take over.
Scenic Means Up!
Having good company on the track is important too, for safety and enjoyment. Sensible decisions are better made in a group - should we stop here for morning tea? Should we take the 'scenic' route (up, up, more up, down, down) or the 'sheltered' one? That's sidle, sidle, baby-up, sidle, sidle...
Every Group Should Have...
Speaking now from personal experience, every group should have its own multi-talented gourmet cook. One who can read the topographical maps and contour lines, and knows when limestone rocks are silicified (or not). One who is totally cheerful and optimistic, and understands that older-lady hikers might need extra encouragement - over the last tiring two hours, that is.
As well as providing jolly decent meals on arrival! Thank you, Daughter of Moosey!