We were already two hours past my intended start time. Coffee, breakfast snacks and a hazy morning drive over the crown range were all contributors to this but it didn’t matter the sun was shining and I was about to tick another hike off my list. Isthmus peak is the lesser know sibling of Roys Peak in Wanaka, similar level of fitness is required as is your camera for that iconic summit shot. We parked up in the car park, lathered ourselves in sun cream and off we went. Now either I’m getting fitter or this hike isn’t as hard as Roy’s peak, I’m going to stick with the latter. Isthmus peak doesn’t seem as intense, it’s not so much of a deadly incline to the top, however it is deceiving, when you reach a level of elevation where the lake below you looks far away and the Southern Alps start to really show off you think you must be at the summit… you’re not, Keep going and going and going. I was adding time by stopping and taking photos until Robbie reminded me that the view will still be there on the way down, let’s get to the summit. I think someone was getting a little hangry.
The sun was beating down on us w had to stop to wolf down our pack up and drank 2/3 of the water we brought as we had reached yet another deceiving corner… this hike is sneaky! Then the wind came, the coldest harshest wind, but we had reached a sign. I had read about the sign and how to keep to the right. I could see the Summit! We were so close, just one more big push up the hill. When we eventually got there the view was amazing, Lake Hawea on one side, Lake Wanaka on the other and mountain tops as far as the eye can see. There’s a euphoric feeling that rushes through you when you summit a mountain, something I can’t quiet explain. After spending some time taking in the landscape, taking photographs and concentrating on not getting blown away by the wind, it was time to descend.
I like the descent, not for the obvious reason of ease (as I have a very dodgy knee) so for me it’s actually quiet painful but for the view, everything you missed on the way up is right there, while you were concentrating on breathing and hydrating. It’s now time to take it all in and extra time for photos of course. The view from the summit was impressive but I don’t think as amazing as the way down, you can now appreciate the mountain in all her glory.
We had booked a little hostel room in Wanaka for the night and ended up dancing, consuming so much Guinness and chicken wings then falling back into bed in the early hours. Maybe it was our bodies was of celebrating the hike we had put it through earlier. After spending the morning hunting for a good breakfast spot we settled our hangover tummys with poached eggs, avo & bacon… and silly amounts of tea of course. The day was beautiful, the lake was crystal clear and we paddled out on a rented double kayak as far as our little arms would take us, it was so serene.