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Arthurs Pass Walk

A week or so ago I saw an image come up in a photography group which had been taken from Warnocks Knob in Arthurs Pass. I thought it looked really cool and mentioned to my husband that I'd love to walk up there one day. ONE DAY. Once I was fit enough.

We'd planned a family walk on Sunday in the Port Hills, however, we had to postpone as my daughter ended up being away for the weekend. Now, number one husband says "let's go to Arthurs Pass instead".

Scaling this peak ONE DAY turned into NOW, THIS DAY.

I agreed that we should go up there. In my mind, we'd walk to the bridge along Otira Valley Track, do the recce and then maybe head back and go out to the Devils Punchbowl waterfall - a civilised walk that suited my abilities. It started out exactly like that.

We walk along the track until we get to the bridge across the Otira River. It was a lovely walk with beautiful alpine scenery.

Then we get to the sign which says you should only pass that point if you're an experienced tramper with route finding and map reading experience. (Husband - yes, plenty of this. Me - none of it.

Up until yesterday, I'd only ever done walks or hikes on council or DOC tracks).

I'm standing there, looking across the river at the extremely steep face with a big strip of scree across it. I'm thinking "nope". Husband has other ideas "Let's just go a bit further and see what it looks like from up there" he says, pointing at the portion of the track which goes up to the scree.

Still following him, I say "Boi, have you lost your mind?" turns out I'm the one who has lost my mind because up the track I go, just to have a look which was hard enough and then out onto the scree which felt almost impossible.

We cross the slippy face, which felt almost vertical to me in my terror, I've never walked on this stuff before. I'm terrified of heights...there are tears. The only reason I go on after that is because I'm too scared to go back and I am holding on to some insane hope that we might find another way down and I won't have to do that again. (Spoiler alert, I did have to do it again, no alternate route magically materialised).

On the way back I was exhausted as well as terrified as we crossed the scree and in addition to tears, there was copious amounts of snot as I ugly cried most of the way across.

Was it worth it? Well, we made it to Warnocks Knob and the view was amazing! It's not the best photo that I've taken in my life, but it's the one that I worked the hardest to earn. I came away from the day with a sense of achievement and memories that will last a lifetime!

Credit to number one husband who calmly and patiently coached me across the hard parts, kept me safe and who always believes I can do the hard things when I'm convinced that I can't.

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Carolyn Lawrence
Carolyn Lawrence
26 בנוב׳ 2023

I was terrified reading about your adventure. What a team! So proud x

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