Last time we hiked the Nydia track in the Marlborough Sounds we said to ourselves that it would be a good place to take family. It’s not a difficult hike, it goes through lovely green characteristically New Zealand forest full of tree ferns, and it ends at a beautiful lodge run by a very warm, welcoming family. We took a weekend trip up there when my Mom came to visit. Here we are, decked out with our gear, ready to go. The only catch is that the track starts in Marlborough, of course, a 6 hour drive north from Christchurch.
Here’s Milo’s view for that 6 hours…or 7 or more with the requisite stops. Milo was using the camera for a bit of that time…. Gone are the days when we can point out an animal and he’s enthralled. He’s just not that excited by sheep and cows and horses and miles and miles of pastures anymore.
Milo actually did quite well on the drive. Here he is dancing in his car seat to kids’ music we borrowed from the library. When music got boring, we read books. When books got boring, we listened to stories on CD. When stories got boring, we resorted to jelly bean bribery.
On the way up north we stopped to pick some early season cherries. Yum!
Healthy cherry trees with a ripe crop are just so scrumptiously beautiful. We were the classic agrotourists, only picking enough cherries for that night’s dinner, but we enjoyed ourselves in the process.
On the way north we stayed overnight at Watson’s Way Backpacker, where we’ve stayed several times before. It’s clean, the kitchen is better than our own, and the proprietors like kids. Upon returning the room key the boys were rewarded a chocolate and the girls got a fragrant garden rose.
From what I read, we still don’t qualify as Sherpas, but I feel like we’re gradually getting there.
“Me step in it?” Milo asked, from his perch in the backpack. “When you walk our hikes, you can step on the mushrooms,” I concede, “but not right now.” Not that I really want beautiful mushrooms annihilated by a two-year-old, but if he’s walking, then I figure it’s worth it….there must be many more mushrooms growing that we can’t see from the path. Parenting is full of compromises, I’m discovering.
Here’s Omi just after lunch on the saddle. She wasn’t particularly confident that she could do the hike and we didn’t dole out the snacks soon enough on the uphill (I realized as she started to wobble a bit–she never complained!), but in the end she made it with flying colors.
Here we are, just before Omi slipped and fell into the stream.
Ah well, wet feet got cured in the hot tub at the lodge.
Worn out from a long day hiking? Hardly, but peacefully sleeping nontheless.
Here’s the lodge where we stayed. It was bought 2.5 years ago by a guy just a few years older than us who runs it with the help of his parents. They’re an amazingly warm hospitable family. I’m quite curious to know how much of this loveliness they put on in the morning as they greet guests and how much is natural, but I bet most of it is just who they are.
Omi stayed in the upstairs of one of these cute little cabins, and the Shaws occupied another.
Isn’t this a charming bedroom? Makes me want to get up slowly in the morning, open the curtains and climb back into bed with a book. Not that we got the luxury of doing that with Milo bopping around….
Here’s the bath house at the lodge. Everything here is done with a stylish flair, even down to the door handles and tea pots.
Breakfast with a view!
Naomi for breakfast anyone? This wonderfully immobile stage doesn’t last long.
Omi got bolder this weekend, even taking a kayak out by herself for the first time. Bravo!
This was Milo’s first kayak ride, but I don’t think he’s quite ready for a long trip yet. We sang the kayak version of “the wheels on the bus go round and round” to keep him happy. Omi’s verse went “The Omi in the kayak says I’m All Wet!” She’s really such a good sport.
The lodge keeps some goats, and this spring they also have an orphaned lamb and calf. Milo’s surprisingly cautious about touching animals, which seems strange considering how bold he is in other regards.
Is the chess set giant, or are Milo and Jeremiah dwarfs?
The lodge is at the tip of a long bay, accessible by boat or by walking track but not by road. It has a limitless supply of throwing rocks that Milo appreciated.
The weather is what it is….but in Marlborough it’s usually nice.
Here we are, ready for our walk out.
Tough Omi! A couple streams are unbridged, so we took our shoes off to keep them dry in crossing. “Why no bridge” asks Milo. “No one wanted to maintain one, honey,” I say. “Why?!” he asks. “It costs money to maintain a bridge,” I say. “Why?!” he counters again. I’ve learned that not every question has a Why-type answer.
Cows must not lead particularly scintillating lives if a few people walking across their pasture can elicit such interest. They all turned their white faces to stare at us blankly as we passed. Perhaps not too much is going on up there.
It’s spring here, and the tree ferns are unfurling new leaves. They remind me of Naomi when she lifts up her fist and stares at it as it turns, examining it as if it wasn’t part of her own body.
We were followed for a stint by a curious Weka bird. They’re like woods chickens, and I think they have a lot more going on in that feathered head of theirs than the cows down in the pasture below.
It’s a rather unusual sight, a dad carrying a newborn on the front and his rifle on his back. Jeremiah went out deer hunting some evenings and mornings when we were at the lodge, but we left all the deer (and pigs, and goats, and possums) in the forest this time. We’re headed back to our car, and to the long drive home.
What a wonderful adventure! Naomi’s face looks like a tiny Jeremiah’s-with a little more topping:) I’m so glad Omi is sharing in all these adventures-she is a trooper for sure. Thank you for sharing this wonderfully long & detailed post.
Amazing as always Molly! Thanks for the wonderful pictures and stories to go with them. It brings your adventurous nature to life. Great times for your mom I’m sure 🙂
I loved the family photos especially the ones with your mum. Good on your mum for joining in so wholeheartedly 🙂 It sounds like a “must do” walk – now to convince Graham….
You managed to capture Naomi in the classic fencer pose which is a normal neurologic test for her age. Amen to all of the above comments. I love the stream crossing picture.
I have to make one slight correction on this nice long blog. I didn’t really fall into the stream. My foot slipped off a rock and got wet. I realize that this doesn’t make nearly as interesting a post, but I have fallen into a stream before and this was nothing like that!
By the way, that last post was from me, Omi, although it looks like it was from Molly
I read this blog this morning. Reading about your adventures and looking at the photos of your joyful family and the beautiful scenery was a wonderful way to start off a Saturday morning.
We awakened to gun fire echoing off the hills this morning – the sun is shining and there is no snow … the dogs are wearing their new and bigger orange vests … Oliver’s been mistaken for a bear so many times I’m tempted to spray paint his big rear end. REAL hunters don’t come around here but we spotted a couple of wannabe’s in the woods behind “your” house last fall. The dogs let them know they were dogs. Loudly. We’ve seen as many as 15 deer in the field in the early evenings; I often wonder if they think this is a sanctuary! But I digress…you all look healthy and happy and the children are beautiful; the lodge appears to be a place of peace and comfort. Thanks for sharing.
15 deer in the vicinity–that’s good for hunters I guess, but not good for gardens! Ah, the hunting season craze….at least it comes to an end mid December. It’s always hunting season here. A construction worker gave me a “high vis” vest, bright orange, that is entirely too big for me. I should send it your way for Oliver!
Wonderful to see all of you–especially your little Naomi. The country is beautiful and we see you are making the most of it!. So glad that your mom can enjoy it all with you.
Love to you all,
Aunt Barb and Uncle Tom