Clearly, everyone needed the sleep. The only people who dragged themselves out of bed before 8 were the horse riders who leave in the morning. Even though I woke up around 7, point blank refused to leave my bed until the noise in the kitchen grew truly intolerable.
The mist that affected us at the previous lodge is in full strength here as well. Since the farm is in a valley, it’s basically hidden underneath a thick layer of fog dancing on the mountains. It makes it very cold, as well as very mystical.
Most of us stick around the lodge in the morning, huddled round the fire while we use the free time to catch up on journal writing, books or just figuring out our next move. Those not doing any activities decide to head to Blue Duck Falls, a three hour round trip which I intend to do after clay pigeon shooting at 1pm.
Two of the girls had booked the ‘Blue Duck Adventure’ through Stray, so were also doing the shooting, in addition to the American who felt he couldn’t celebrate America’s Independence Day without firing a gun. He also admitted to owning a shotgun, so had a clear advantage over the rest of us.
One girl gave it a shot, but chose not to continue as she found the gun too difficult to wield, while another girl who had used one before managed to hit 4 out of 5 targets. I on the other hand, struggled to hit them. I had the stance and I seemed to understand the aiming, but I always fired too soon. My first five clays flew into the field completely untouched.
Thankfully, I at least hit jackpot once the competition round started. My very first shot resulted in a smashed pigeon! I’m still not sure how, but clearly my aiming worked that time. The next four all flew undamaged, but at least I got one. The other two however, managed to both hit 4/5, and went into a bonus round to pick a winner – only for both of them to manage all 3 shots. Since they had to go on the quad safari immediately after and the competition was making them run late, they agreed to a draw.
Since they were heading off and I still a good 4 hours before it would get dark, I decided to go try and see Blue Duck Falls myself in the afternoon. I was joined by Mary-Anne who had missed it earlier by going horse riding, and the two of us headed down the path after the quad. The biggest issue however, turned out to be the mud. It’s thick, constant, and everywhere. The farm offers waterproofs and boots so you don’t have to waste your own, but the quad safari group had taken all the shoes in my size so I was risking my own while MA suffered in several sizes too large. By the end of this trip they and my trousers were completely covered in mud.
That said though, the waterfall is very impressive. It’s easy to miss as the path to the bottom is hidden in the bushes and not very well defined. We took a few wrong turns through the forest before coming across the stairwell heading down to the bottom of the valley…where the quad bikers were waiting, taking turns to kayak down the river.
The valley looks like something out of the lost world. The waterfall is just around the corner, so you can’t properly see it, while the cliffs circle it and create an exotic hideaway. When the kayakers returned, we headed upwards and took a look at the top of the waterfall, hoping to catch sight of them – but it was too wet and scummy. I remembered what happened last time I took on a waterfall in Thailand, thank you.
We managed to head back in less than an hour (a good 20 minutes quicker than it took us to get there), and headed back to the lodge. We’re having a communal meal tonight, with everyone pitching in $9 for bangers, mash and brownie, before having to have an early night – have to be up and out for 6am in order to do the Tongariro Crossing…