DAY SIXTY-EIGHT

Woke up at 7, stayed under the covers until 8, then finally dragged my cold lazy ass out of bed. We went to the gas station, got changed, then parked our camper van in a lot by the lake. Then we set out on our bike ride from Wanaka to Queenstown then back to Wanaka. I have to admit, I wasn't really feeling it at first, it was so flipping cold, and I was so tired from my crappy sleep. But after about 30 kms in, I was starting to warm up, and the scenery was just truly magnificent. The ride from Wanaka to Queenstown was just under 70 km's, but most of it was relatively flat. We climbed through the Crown Ranges, but despite that, all the climbs were a low gradient, and it wasn't too steep. There was one 40 km climb that was just very gradual and so gradual it almost seemed flat. Then after that climb, we started to descend and emerge from the valley, and holy shit it was the most gorgeous view I've ever seen. I just couldn't believe my eyes. It was just the most majestic mountains, with these snow capped mountains in the background. It truly took my breath away. It was one of those moments where you realize that all the hype surrounding the beauty in the South Island was NOT overrated and exists for a reason. The south Island is truly magic, and I was realizing that more and more everyday. As I was descending, I just honestly wanted to throw my head back and laugh at how ridiculously stunning it was. But then I realized that I was flying down a mountain at 60 kph on my bike, with the craziest headwind threatening to push me over, navigating hairpin corners, and I thought better of "throwing my head back and laughing." Instead I kept my laughter bubbled up in my heart, and it began to warm me from within. Despite that warmth though... my fingers were still freezing numb that I questioned my ability to use my breaks.... but anyways, I finished descending safe and sound. Then after leaving the crown ranges, we cycled for another hour or so before we finally reached Queenstown. Queenstown was truly beautiufl, and it reminded me so much of Whistler, which is a cute skiing village just a few hours from my hometown Vancouver. But as beautiful as it is, Queenstown is definitely very "touristy." Just the fact that there was an LV store and a Starbucks proves that point. But despite that I still loved the atmosphere there. So when we arrived at the town center, we went to a Pita Pit to refuel, and to warm up. Then after about 40 minutes resting up, we decided to start the long trek back to Wanaka. One thing I didn't really factor in as I was flying down at 60kph was that, on the way back, I'd have to climb up all of that. Yea, oops. It was probably one of the toughest things I've done, ever. The entire climb my legs were just jelly and in so much pain. I was already exhausted from the 3 hours of hard riding we'd done to get to Wanaka, and now I was climbing up a steep long ass climb, and my lungs were on fire, my legs burned, and my breath was forced and painful. But Griff stayed back with me, and helped pace me up the entire climb. I dont think I would have made it all the way without stopping if it hadn't been for his support and encouragement. Then after that climb, everything was easier from there.

We had a nice tail wind, and the last 50 or so kms just flew by. When we finally got back after 7 hours of riding I couldn't help the cheeky grin that spread over my face. I was just so proud of myself for getting through it. 140 kms, 2000 m elevation gain, and a crazy headwind. I unclipped, set my bike down, gave them each a big hug, then ate a handful of sour patch kids heeh. After we ran out of dates and raisins on our ride, we had to stop at a gas station and pick up a pack of Sour Patch Kids as back up fuel. Eating them made me feel like a kid again, and although they wouldn't be my first choice for what to eat on the bike, they definitely got me through the last 30 kms. So after we got back, we went to the gas station to shower, and do our laundry. Then I started making our dinner in the camper van. I made a ridiculous amount of rice for us, and a Penang curry to go along with it.

We drove down to the lake again to eat our dinner. Then for the first 10 minutes we barely talked we were jsut so hungry and so absorbed in eating our food. We had curry, rice, beet garlic hummus, rice crackers, and sweet chilli sauce. Then we had the same dessert as yesterday: weetbix, tahini, syrup, and rice milk. Definitely hit the spot. Then I stood outside the Spark Wifi Hotspot and used it to call Bonny. It was so fucking amazing talking to her, she's seriously just the most down to earth person, and wonderful friend. It made me miss her and Tim so much and got me excited for our fast approaching adventures in Adelaide. WOOT WOOT. And now we're driving around trying to find a discrete location to park our van to sleep. :)