The Payoff Is At The Top – Roys Peak – Wanaka, New Zealand

Yesterday we made our way to Wanaka, a resort town located on Lake Wanaka, New Zealand’s fourth largest lake. After a long drive, we settled in for some lunch and took a look at the activities in the area along with the weather. With tomorrow promising rain, we wanted to take advantage of the sunny afternoon, so Kevin suggested a hike. There was a short one and a long one; we chose the long one. New Zealand tends to overestimate the time needed for hikes, so we assumed that this 6-8 hour hike would realistically take 3-4 hours. We had no idea what we were in for. We stopped to get some water and trail mix, not knowing how underprepared we would be, and set off. From our first step, and then for the next five miles, we marched straight uphill. We didn’t even know where our end point was; we kept looking up thinking, there’s no way we’re going all the way up there… but we were. We saw a family on their way down and they confirmed it: “You see that tower up there? That’s where you’re going.” Then the five year old little girl confirmed Christine’s worst fear…”You have at least another hour to go (this was over two hours in) and you haven’t even reached the steepest bit, but it’s worth it.” We thanked them for the info and continued on.

“The payoff is at the top,” combined with “you can do it,” and “one foot in front of the other” is all Christine kept saying to herself the whole way up. Kevin, on the other hand, was running ahead, climbing up rocks, and even went for a little jog at the top. After a total of 5 miles in 3 hours, we made it to the peak, at an elevation of just under 1600 meters! We had no idea that this climb would be comparable to climbing the Concepcion Volcano in Nicaragua, the one that Christine didn’t finish. Now she can say she did it!

This picture was taken on the way down, about 20 minutes from the actual top, where we felt had the most amazing panoramic view of the surroundings. Had you seen a picture of Christine on the way up, you would not have seen a smile, but an angry, determined face.