Summits to sea

New Zealand part II - Posted On

Once again we pass by Wanaka, the Capitol of the Antipodean Alps and we get to meet the French Poilvert family. Florence is very keen on alternative ways of living in our modern world and wrote a nice article about the subject of slow motion travelling. Have a go, it’s great and in English:

As we arrive there under heavy rain and face wind, we seem to ease up people’s feeling toward us. As we see a man advertising for an expensive rodeo show, he offers us two free tickets! That’s how we get to see an interesting important side of the Kiwi society. With large Acumbra hats on their head, some riders jump with their horse all over the place, and they catch bulls by their horns. Crazy, impressive girls and guys from the country!

I also experience a very unlucky bite from the only poisonous being in the country. And they call Aotearoa one of the safest countries on Earth! A white tailed spider gets its fangs through my skins and I see the spot growing wildly days after days. When it gets to a few centimeters wide and I start seeing red lines going from it through my arms, we decide better to see a doctor who gives me antibiotics. Sometimes people have their member cut because of this!

Morally talking, we cannot leave the area without trying to climb one of the beautiful peaks around. We are very keen to have a go to the Mt Aspiring but it requires cross-country skiing equipment and good alpinism skills. Alexis Poilvert was keen for that, with good guiding skills, but he changed his mind and thus, our plans. Nevertheless we give a try and climb as high as the glacier permits us, on the French ridge.

Getting there is quite a long ride on a very hard gravel road. My hand hurts very badly because of the bite. But once we get to the last car park, having a bike makes it easier to go along the next 15kms further… Somehow. In fact it remains extremely hard to ride and walking might simply have been easier. Whatever, the beauty of the scenery makes it maybe the most beautiful scenic ride we had so far. 

Of course we climb to the French Hut on the French Ridge (Mt Aspiring) with our paraglides in the bag. But the wind is definitely too strong to fly. We pass the night in our tent, behind the hut, wrapped in our wings,  surrounded by magnificent and wild mountains covered of ice. World is a good place to be!

Then, we set ourselves to ride to Christchurch, meaning a weeklong ride. Beautiful, superb road, passing by the Mt Cook, the highest peak of the country! See the pictures.

In Temuka, Nadège gets a bit tired on her bike and crash gently on a bridge barrier, breaking her brand new front rack. Because it’s temporarily ok, we just look at the map and decide where to sleep tonight. This is how Gary, a neighbor, comes and asks us whether or not we would like to have access to all of his tools and to his very tidy workshop. We met Santa Klaus! He is Generosity itself. He already adopted a few kids who had trouble in their lives. He simply like to help. When we asked him why he did that, he answered: 

“-Because I could help”. And we could fix many things, and had a beautiful dinner together. This is another good lesson of the travel.