Friday, February 11, 2011

Hokitika and the Drugs

We seem to have this luck following us around on this trip and one of the luckiest and coolest parts of the trip was our ability to camp entirely for free down the West Coast of the South Island. We didn't pay to sleep anywhere from Nelson to Wanaka: seven whole days of free camping and no showers. This doesn't mean that we always stayed at free campsites: sometimes we freedom camped, sometimes we stayed at DOC Basic Campsites which don't have fees, and sometimes we just got lucky and the Ranger never came to collect fees at the DOC Standard Campsites (which are just marginally better than Basic ones and thus usually have a fee).

Such was the case with our magical Nacho Campsite between Greymouth and Hokitika. This campsite had our own private campsite with a stove over our campfire, drinkable water from a nozzle, and flushing toilets. And apparently free drugs.

Mike was off christening the flushing toilets while Tim, Dan, and I sat around the campfire eating breakfast and drinking tea when a car pulled up to our site. At first we all thought it must be the ranger coming to collect our fee: I know we all thought this because we all had the same long pause when the woman who climbed out of the car asked us if we had stayed at this site last night. After a very long awkward moment we all replied that yes we had (though I had no intention of telling her that there was a fourth person with us as I expected her next to collect our fee) -- to which she replied "Have you seen my pot?"

Now to my credit, I am straightedge but I have apparently spent enough time around drug culture to be a bit more savvy to these sorts of questions than Tim or Dan. This is to their credit and by their own admittance (you did good, Mrs. Malone!). So this story is actually funnier because Tim didn't know what the woman had asked for and actually thought she was looking for her wallet and was sort of stunned when it was revealed that she was looking for her lost drugs which she had driven 68 kilometers back to this camping spot for. As this woman is scouring the campsite - I know that she thinks we smoked her weed and I'm praying that she finds it and the big Maori looking man in her car doesn't get out of her car. But she DID find it and off she went leaving us a little but more entertained than we planned.

We drove down the road to this Tunnel Trail not far from our site and I really enjoyed exploring the forest and listening to the loudest Cicadas I've ever heard. It was a beautiful sunny morning and the sunlight just filtered through the forest as Dan and I found some tunnel caves to crawl through off the path and also spotted a Fantail Bird which was really cool to watch.

We reached Hokitika in the early afternoon to use internet, book tickets to hike the Fox Glacier the next day, and eat lunch. We were more re-energized when we left -- in fact, this is exactly what we did when we left town:

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