I wasn’t sure what to call this post….”Yet, Another Adventure?” or “Surviving Mount Alfred?” or “Wondrous White Summit? After our tour through the South Island with Luca’s parents, I promised myself that I need to simmer down a bit now, as I have had just enough adventures in New Zealand. Nice, relaxing hikes are fun too, right? But as we all know, you have no real control over where life takes you; it usually does the deciding for you.
At some point while Anna and I were gawking at the snow-capped mountains in Kinloch, we had the bright idea that we wanted to “touch snow.” We heard from some other members of the Kinloch crew that Mount Alfred was a “must do” and that there would probably be a little bit of snow on the top. Mount Alfred was the smallest of the surrounding mountains. I was sure it wouldn’t be that hard…
So, a group of five of us set out on a sunny morning to conquer Mount Alfred. The members of the expedition were Anna, Anya, Jenni, Stephan, and myself. The first part of the hike was a steep two-hour climb up to the edge of the tree line. Steep is not an exaggeration. I think I about died on the way up.
A sparkling blanket of fresh snow was waiting for us at the edge of the tree line. Stephan, who was from Malaysia, had never seen snow before. I made sure to introduce the element to him in the form of a snowball.
The climb after the tree line was treacherous, to say the least. For another hour or so, we rock climbed up a slippery, snow-covered peak. One wrong placement of my foot could be detrimental. At one point I looked down (stupidly) and slid a little, felt a rush of panic, and called out “Guys, I don’t know about this. What happens when we have to go back down?”
We somehow all made it up in one piece…and it was totally worth it! The top was just incredible. I have never seen such a sight in my life. We had a full 360 view of the Rees Valley with its snow-capped mountains. The morning sunshine was just beginning to show as the mist from the valley was rising. Was I dreaming?
Unfortunately, the cold did not let you relax and take the view in. Forget lunch on top of the mountain. I had to do jumping jacks just to keep my feet from freezing.
I was so nervous about coming down. I felt like there was a 50% chance or more of somebody slipping and getting hurt. I decided to get rid of my pride and just slide down the mountain on my butt like I was on a sled. Eventually my butt went numb from the cold and I truly enjoyed sliding down. I felt like a 10 year old laughing and playing in the snow. No shame.
It was yet another pure New Zealand adventure.