I’m Totally an Experienced Hiker

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Mt. Taranaki

This  Devin hotel was luxurious. I had the most glorious shower- the pressure was intense yet not painful, and the temperature could be fine tuned. The towels are so fluffy I’m gonna die. Imagine if bunnies were super absorbent. Since there was a violent storm outside, after swimming in the pool in the rain, we decided to dine downstairs at the bar. I ordered a Fruitum Drinkum, which was bright pink and tasted like a berry creamsicle.

We leapt out of bed and make a beeline to Pack & Save to collect supplies for our hike. After running back to the hotel for pants, we were ready to go. At the bottom of Mt. Taranaki, I decided we did not have enough water. My dad agreed, so we purchased some more bottles. I packed as light as possible, with only an over the shoulder little backpack stuffed with my windbreaker, a long sleeve cotton (sorry UCOCers) shirt, and some light gloves. Also water, of course.

I pranced towards the trail, leading my parents and skipping cheerfully by the sign that said “Experienced Hikers Only.” The first part was easy; basically a steep road. It got more tedious when the path got narrower and the wind picked up. It was necessary to use my hands quite often. I liked climbing over the bigger rocks. Then came the staircase. First we strolled up some stairs under a dripping rock face. The next part was 430 steps out in the open, give or take.

As we ascended, the wind continued to strengthen. It got steeper too. We scurried from big rock to big rock because it would not take much to be knocked over when not holding onto anything. Eventually the terrain was all gravel, with few stable boulders. I would describe it as rather lunar. The wind became so loud that we could not hear each other yell. I was pushed down several times, and my mode of transportation was eventually reduced to a determined bear crawl. About 500 meters from the summit, we took cover at a huge, Dad-sized boulder, within view of the ridge.We watched as a strong, experienced-seeming hiker struggled his way to the ridge, then turn around and slide back down towards us on his butt.

Daddy decided that if he could not make it, we couldn’t. Several other hikers join us at our rock for a powwow. We finally began our descent. It involved much sliding, surf-style. I also ended up sitting on the ground unexpectedly, several times. I would lean into the aggressive wind to resist its power, and then it would suddenly die down momentarily, just long enough for me to lose my balance, before it started up again, effortlessly pushing over. My mom was speedy at descending- maybe because she could not wait to get out of there.

We ate a picnic at a bench mid mountain, proudly eating the baguette we carried up and back. When we arrived back at the hotel, we instantly got in the hot tub. I did laps in the pool after I tired of pressing the bubble button for the hot tub every 5 minutes. When we walked in search of food, we accidentally happened upon an antique car show. When we found a Thai restaurant, I enjoyed torturing my mouth with the spiciness of red and green curries.

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