Find More Happy Places

From Milford Highway, the trailhead was a short jaunt north on a well-maintained gravel road. I loaded up my pack and swayed across the swing bridge with clear-blue river rushing beneath. The trail mimicked the raging water at first past rapids along a boardwalk then curved away and climbed higher into the beech-tree forest. At times I felt like I was wandering through the Mirkwood and was sure to stay on the path as I clambered over rocks and up roots as the trail gained elevation, thankfully orange triangle blazes marked the path. I hiked with determination and soon the trees began to thin when I past a sign for the restroom, typical New Zealand, I knew I was close. In a 100 more meters the forest opened up to an aw-inpsiring view.

Along the rapids of the Hollyford River

Along the rapids of the Hollyford River.

A waterfall cascaded down the nearest mountain and craggy peaks were the backdrop to the west and north. The boulder-strewn shoreline was sprinkled with day hikers, but I spotted the perfect diving rock a little down the shore and quickly claimed it. It felt like I stripped down to my underwear without breaking stride, as to not lose my nerve to jump in the glacier-cold water. I dove into my ice bath and quickly resurfaced gasping for air to hear a cheer of approval from a day hiker along the main shore. I gave a whoop in response with a huge grin plastered to my face.

Nothing topped that feeling for the rest of the trip; I found my New Zealand happy place at Marian Lake.

Add Marian Lake to the list of alpine gems I've jumped in!

Add Marian Lake to the list of alpine gems I’ve jumped in!

Out of all of the amazing things I did in New Zealand, why was this alpine lake so special? Well, I am pretty fond of alpine lakes so it was something familiar in a foreign landscape. I love (briefly) jumping in alpine lakes and decided this lake needed to be added to the list; so I challenged myself to power up the trail to get nice and warm before attaining my goal of a quick dip. Then as I sat next to the lake drying off I was filled with that warm fuzzy feeling some folks call joy. Of course, an amazing view and sharing a happy place with good company adds to the experience.

My adventure resolution for 2016 – find more happy places. That’s my main goal for the year, with the following objectives:

  • Lady Backpacking Trip – Alpine lakes, good company, and a full soft-sided wine carafe or three; now this is my kind of ladies’ weekend!
  • Eastern Sierra Winter Adventure – The Eastern Sierra is my happiest of places, I want to experience their dramatic mountains and steamy hot springs with a dusting of snow.
  • I’ve Got That Huckin’ Feelin’ – As a whole, ultimate frisbee folks are the most positive and welcoming folks I know; I need more of that in my life.

We’re coming for you 2016!
Trails and Aspen

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One response to “Find More Happy Places

  1. Pingback: 2016 Blooper Reel | Trails' Guide·

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