Friday, March 3, 2017

musterer's hut...

Monday, Feb 27, 2017
The weather is sunny and warm, promising to be about 20C by mid afternoon, should be just perfect, not too hot for a good hike. Apparently the sun is much more dangerous here and our leaders are continually warning us to be sure to slather on the sunscreen. They say you can burn in 15 minutes.
Today's hike has 3 options on Bealey Spur. The first leg, is 3.5 km with an elevation gain of 300 m. The beginning seems quite demanding and Janet opts to turn around there and return to the van, meaning she did about 7 km total. At the beginning of the day, I am hoping to make it to the second point which is the musterer's hut, (a building from the old days when the herders had to be up there rounding up their sheep) at 6 km out, with a gain of 560 m. I am keeping pace with Net, a retired doctor from Atlanta and his wife Penn, a lawyer (this is the couple married 52 yrs) and we are having a good time keeping company and encouraging each other.

By the time we get to the hut, we've all agreed we
are heading back down, not continuing the extra 2 km/another 300 m up. It's taken us a bit over 3 hours to get up this far. A little less than half the group continues to the top. The views have been breathtaking all along! We have our packed lunch of lamb sandwich and snacks and head back down, knowing that often the return is as hard as the way up because you are using different muscles. Parts of the path have loose, gravely bits that make it slippy and you have to watch that you don't fall. My toes are screaming by the time, 2 hrs later, we are back at our pickup point. We cautiously sit down, telling each other that Zala, the van driver will have to help us get up when she gets there! The weather is amazing, sunny and warm, not too hot and it truly is a great day.
Back at the lodge, it is amazing how quickly one recovers! Nial, the local sheep farmer gives us a demonstration of sheep herding with his two dogs and he tells us about raising merino sheep, life on the farm and gives us a demonstration of shearing the fleece off a sheep the old-fashioned way, by hand. He gives us a taste of the 'kiwi' sense of humour which tends to exaggerate, play on words and shows us the sense of rivalry between Australia and New Zealand - lots of information about the importance and quality of merino wool and meat in thee world market. I am surprised to learn that virtually all the wool is processed  - cleaned, spun and made into fibres or fabric in China! All entertaining and informative!
 Back to the lodge for dinner, good food but too late for me - I am wiped and leave before dessert because we have another early get-up at 7am tomorrow!
Fitbit, 12.1 km; MA, 11.5 km. Backroads, 15 km - I'm going with Backroads' mileage today!

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