After another half hour of hiking, we came to a sign pointing us to the seal colony. It displayed the approximate round trip hiking time as two hours. We had the hubris to think that we could make the hike in considerably less time. The trail grew wet and difficult. Muddy marshes and trees blocked our way. My parent’s feet were outfitted with only flip-flops and were taking a beating. Dad’s flip-flop strap tore and became unusable. He left them at the side of the trail to pick up on the way back. Mom’s foot ware started to tear and she, too, soon left hers. Both my mom and dad were now walking the rough and muddy trail in bare feet. It soon became apparent that it would take us much longer than expected to complete this journey. We continued on as the trail sloped downward towards the ocean. We dropped off the trail into a ravine leading to the final beach. We had made it and were eager to explore the seal colony.
Carefully, and with sore feet, we proceeded down the beautiful beach. Big waves caused surf to smash against the boulders along the rocky coast line. To one side of us lay a vast ocean, to the other, waterfalls and big rocks. Soon we came upon a seal basking in the sun. We watched as he turned his head and observed us with keen and curious eyes. After enjoying the scene, we turned our heads and headed back up the long trail.
Back along the muddy trail, Dad and Mom picked up their broken flip flops. Dad continued bare foot, while Mom walked carefully in her weakening sandals. With time, Dad’s aching feet on the rough and rocky terrain were causing him to go very slowly. Mom and I ran ahead to get Dad’s sneakers from the car and bring them back to him. We started out walking quickly, but then a sad sight made us speed up. We had left the jungle and had the darkening open sky before us. Rain drops fell upon us from the clouded sky. Soon the rain and wind increased. I looked back at Mom, cold and miserable. I started to run. Mom was close behind. Past the rain, past the driftwood, a cold wind licked my cheeks. We quickened our pace. Soon, we were on the wide open trail, now less pleasant. Harder and harder we ran until the car lay ahead of us. Dad was close behind us and soon we were all warm and accounted for in the dry car. It was five o’clock and the day was failing. The trip had taken us four and a half hours. So much for beating the estimated time on the sign!
We have driven to a cafe over looking Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman. I had an amazing dinner while watching the light of the setting sun cast upon the mountains. What a day!
Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!