Given that most of the local rock is gneiss (metamorphic), diorite and granite (both igneous rock) you can only wonder at the power of the natural forces involved in shaping this landscape. On the mountain tops there is only a thin soil covering that does little to hold the huge volume of water that falls regularly on the region before it tumbling gracefully off the faces of the cliffs in an array of wonderous waterfalls.
It was an exhilarating boat trip with the high peaks of the Southern Alps visible in every direction. The sign on the boat kind of summed up what we were all feeling; the sense that in undertaking this journey you were somehow stepping out of yourself, abandoning the humdrum life and becoming a real life adventurer. The smile says it all!
At Glade Wharf, we were required to step in to a tub of protective solution to clean off our boots. More rigorous practices are required if, for example, you have used a boat or canoe on the water or if you have been in an affected area. If you remember the kinds of things we had to do to access the countryside during the last outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK, you will have a rough idea of what is required. Once seen, the crystal clear, emerald green waters of the Clinton River are not easily forgotten and you too would do everything you could to preserve them.
There is a real sense of excitement when you do all these wee, twee activities. As if the mountains all around you, their snowy peaks and cloud cover; the in-penetrable jungle and the mighty rivers are not enough to convince you that you are actually here.
Having picked and bunk and stowed the gear, we set about familiarising ourselves with the amenities including the bunkhouses, kitchen with gas cookers and dining facilities and toilets with washbasins supplied with cold water. We introduced ourselves to the warden, who advised us there would be a meeting after dinner to discuss 'what happens next'. Curious!