Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Stray Travel. It has taken me through the misty rain in Blenheim and Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park. Our bus named Anna has taken us to a wine tasting at Bouldevines vineyard which got worse with each thimble of wine we drank. It has introduced me to Erin (Scotland) and Emma, Sarah, Anna (the person), Nicole, and Keith (England). And we’re stuck together for the next week.

Yesterday I wandered along the coastal hiking trail of Abel Tasman National Park from Marahu to Anchorage. The sun was tempted to come out along the way, but I could only enjoy the break in the drizzle to call Adam. It was the only place I could find reception, out on Yellow Point, and I needed to make sure I had a bus ticket all the way to Dunedin next week. But it was a beautiful walk. The water was a perfect blue reflected from the sky. The path was a line of dirt separating the ocean from the bush, and I was following the coast line in a strange new way.

I picked up a catamaran for a ride home and to check out the seal colony. They didn’t seem to mind the gray skies like I did. I was grateful to have a towel and a cup of tea on the boat as we cruised past split apple rock and into a different beach. Luckily I had a few minutes to duck into the Four Square for some noodles for a hot dinner.

The drive back to Old MacDonald’s Farm was winding and long. I had booked into a tent the night before, figuring if I was going to rough it, I better go all the way. It was difficult but nice to fall asleep to the sound of the rain, and I had finally made a few acquaintances within the camp.

Today we drove out again with Anna our bus, Aerial our driver/guide, and a few new Stray mates. We passed Rotoroa Lake and killed every sand fly that came inside the bus on the windows. I admit I took a nap along the way, waking up as we passed through Buller Gorge. Then we had a quick trek along the Truman Track through the bush, and stopped at the legendary Pancake Rocks. Sadly, no butter and maple syrup to be found. Tonight we’re staying at the All Nations Hotel in Barrytown, a place that might not exist if not for Stray. We’re having a pajama party in the bar and hopefully I’ll find a bit of greenstone on the beach tomorrow. Maybe it’ll be sunny.

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