The magnificent Arthur’s Pass engagement or the story of the Ring, my precious
There are plenty of rings in the world, but this shall be the story of a special one – my precious. Muahahaha! Okay, I’ll try to keep the ‘Lord of the Rings’ references to the minimum but can’t promise to stay away from them as they have a part in this story. Anyway, it was a long time coming and for some reason, I kept postponing this story but what a better occasion to share it than a 6 months engagement anniversary. But before we get to the Arthur’s Pass and the engagement, let’s pick up from where we have left off.
Spoiler alert: this is going to be a cheesy/romantic/personal post. Yes, I kinda am a cheesy person, so not gonna apologize.
After leaving warm and sunny Greymouth in shorts and t-shirts we arrived at the freezing Arthur’s Pass desperately searching for those hidden merino base layers. We couldn’t even tell it got so cold until we got out of the car at the lookout point for some pictures and felt the freezing wind biting at the uncovered skin. And still, despite the cold rain and wind, we were once again extremely excited as we were finally in the mountains that we’ve been dreaming of.
The Avalanche Creek Campsite
The DOC campsite had a spacious shelter to hide out from the vicious weather and socialize with other travelers alike. So as soon as we settled, we went inside to enjoy our ‘fancy’ sausage and hash brown dinner accompanied by a bottle of some Riesling. Soon enough others started gathering as well and we found ourselves sharing our pots, stove, and wine with others in exchange for some stories and homemade cheesecake… mmmm… cheesecake… That’s how we met the German guy Karstein and Kiwi lady Sasha, who were both doing the Te Araroa track and were down to their last remaining 800km (the whole track is 3000km). The cheesecake was actually baked and brought to the campsite by Sasha’s parents as they were from somewhere around.
There was also a lovely Dutch girl borrowing our stove as, unfortunately, she had hers stolen from the shelter that same day. We also met a French couple, who constantly chooses to quit their jobs and travel for a half a year or more before getting back to earn some money and do the same thing all over again. As fun as it was to have some company and conversations for a change, soon everyone started looking for some time to themselves and having a tiny little bit too much of wine (a second bottle may have appeared in the picture) we also chose to head back to the van for some peace and quiet.
The morning after
The morning after was not the easiest as woken up by a headache and call of nature, it took a lot of strength stepping outside the van into the freezing -1C degree temperature. Lucky for us, with the sunshine the warmth came back to the mountains and soon enough it was hard to remember it was so freezing cold just a few hours ago. Knowing how precious sunny and warm days in the mountains are, we couldn’t miss out and just had to take the advantage of this incredible weather. Therefore, battling the hangover we finally set out on a hike.
Now we’ve been talking for a while about doing a multiday or at least an overnight hike, though we came to a conclusion we may not be physically ready for one (or I may not be) and chose to go for a 4-5 hours day hike this time instead and come back sometime later for the multiday one. So having researched and read about Arthur’s Pass tracks, Algirdas finally had selected for us to do the Bealey Spur track to the viewpoint and back.
Bealey Spur track
Good that we didn’t go for an overnight hike as only 20min into the track we were both already catching our breath. It may have been the heat, steep track but most probably just the wine from the night before. Thanks to the hiking polls it eventually got easier and constantly awwwwing because of the beauty all around we reached the top just in around 2,5 hours.
The Bealey Spur track begins with quite a steep walk up from the car park to the beginning of the track (~500m). That’s where you can use a bathroom in case you’re in need as the next one can only be found at the end of the track by the hut (well, we did not go to the hut as we turned around at the viewpoint peak of the track). From there the first part of the track is quite a steep climb through a beautiful New Zealand forest (thus, our loss of breath) until the path takes you into the open further going on a ridge where you have a steep gorge on your left and a slope down to the river canyon on your right. The path is covered by bushes from both sides and only occasionally the view emerges, that is until you get to the most incredible viewpoint where everything around opens up.
And what a breathtaking, incredible view it was. I already was out of breath from the hike but the view up there just left me speechless: everywhere you turn, you’re surrounded by the mountains, seeing snowy peaks in the back and the grand Waimakariri river canyon in between. At the moment there was barely any water and it seemed like a vast river of rocks surrounded by gorgeous mountains but just with a bit of rain, it can easily flood the whole canyon. I can only imagine how magnificent it looks when the river is at its’ full flow.
The story of the ring a.k.a. the Arthur’s Pass engagement Lord of the Rings style
That was it – that is when we knew it was the spot, the right place to take the picture for our blog cover! We were so happy, excited and so overwhelmed by it all. So I was there, constructing the tripod for the camera when suddenly Algirdas grabs my hand and kneels in front of me saying all these just the right beautiful words and asking me to be his elf and embrace on this life journey together wherever it takes. Easy to say I was so astonished, shocked, overwhelmed, I dropped the tripod from my hands and thought I was asking ‘is this for real?’ multiple times, shaking my head and saying ‘yes’ but apparently that was all in my head while in reality I just shook my head, cried hugging and kissing Algirdas and never managed to say even a word, while he put the most beautiful ring on my finger.
So, yes, this was it – this was an incredible place that initially I thought will be the place for our blog cover, but now it was this moment, this place and time that forever changed its’ meaning in our heads and hearts. I guess at that moment all I could feel was pure happiness and such appreciation for life as it is – an incredible journey together which is just a beginning. In those moments I couldn’t help but relive in my mind all of our amazing moments together that has already passed and the ones that were yet to come.
So after all this time, the ring has finally found me My precious… I was waiting so long to finally use the Lord of the Rings reference and I’m so happy to do so for our Arthur’s Pass engagement surrounded by all the beauty of the Middle Earth. My precious – not the ring but my fiancé, my best friend, and love of my life. You are my strength and my weakness. You believe in me when I lose myself, you support and challenge me each day and make me want to be the best version of myself. Even after 6 months, it is still weird to say the word ‘fiancé’, as if it still has an unfamiliar ring to it or as if I am trying to pretend something/someone I am not. So what did the engagement changed? In a way, nothing changed but at the same time, everything did and we couldn’t be more excited for all of our life together to come ahead.
And there were many incredible things ahead – just the following day traveling from Middle Earth to Narnia but you’ll have to read more about it in our next story.
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