Through my eyes The Remarkables Queenstown
Our last few daylight hours in Queenstown, time for one last adventure. Hesitant, foolhardy maybe, feeling brave, spotted the sign to our right.
The Remarkables 14kms
Looking up, the narrow winding road looking easy not scary at all. My brother and his family are ahead, eyeing the electronic information board alerting us to the need of chains if you aren’t in a four-wheel drive.
Eyeing each other, ‘Well that’s why we hired a four wheel drive right?’ ‘Yep, here goes’.
Car park to our left, wondering why you would park so far away, maybe for a meandering walk, doubt it, it’s too cold. It wasn’t till we reached the bottom of this road again that I thought; ah they were the sensible ones, they took the bus.
Clear bright blue sky, I can see in the distance a hawk gliding searching for it’s next meal. Winding down the window, cold wind blasting my face, my gums turning numb, feeling like I have shoved my face into the freezer and been there too long.
Winding back up the window we continue steadily, cautiously. Checking behind us every so often, for those impatient to reach the ski field.
Grit scattered over the road, to our right the cliff face a mixture of volcanic rock in an assortment of colours like a colourless bag of liquorice all sorts, black brown, tan, a smattering of white ice, snow blanketing the top of jutting rocks.
The outer edge a row of hard ice not yet melted, fresh snow settled randomly on top. You hear the ice crushing under your tyres as you edge to close, whether meaning to or not as the car shifts and wavers sliding on the wet slippery soil.
Climbing higher the road becomes muddier, wet; the grit has all but disappeared. Occasionally the car slides a little to the left closer to the edge where there are no boundaries or barriers, a very long fall awaits us teasing us.
Peering ahead and around us, we are cocooned in a valley of snow covered mountains. Blinded by the sun hitting the snow as we climb upwards. The higher we climb the temperature drops, flicking up the air conditioner now reading 27 degrees, a shiver, we must be mad.
Pulling the scarf tighter around my throat and covering my mouth, stretching and pulling up my merino grey possum gloves. Feeling nervous not daring to move.
The air is still; the only sound the humming of the engine. Michael is concentrating, focused; I can tell by the way he grips the wheel, his knuckles involuntarily whitening. I best stay silent, sniffing occasionally, my nose dripping.
A row of cars behind us are gaining pace, I sight skiers racing down the slopes, poles expertly thrusting through the snow, weaving left and right, tracks visible in their wake.
Tufts of dirt, surrounding a few visible grass trees, a down of ice weighing down its branches. Icicles hang, imitating Christmas decorations.
Finally reaching the top, parking, standing aside the car the wind batters me, warm under my long feather down coat, exposed flesh tingling with cold, numbness slowly seeping into my nose and gums. Blinking eyes, we made it.
Where’s the toilet!
I think next week I will really tell you how I feel about the football