During my last visit home to my mum and dad, who live in Alexandra, New Zealand, I found my self getting a bit hard hit by being cooped up inside. Well, the worst part is I chose to stay inside?? it was cold (but not even that cold to be completely honest) and I felt tired, so assumed resting would involve lazying around the house. HOW WRONG COULD I HAVE BEEN. Honestly, this happens to me a lot.
I feel burnt out, so I take a break in which I plan to do nothing (and oh, I mean nothing but snooze, eat, and watch tv shows or stare into the fire). Thinking that: tired = rest and minimal activity. Whereas in reality, what burns many if us out is feeling contained, being inside, following routine, being fillled what pours from the media. So, I was silly not to recognise the source of my fatigue.
Anyway, I was filling up with angst, and with only a few daylight hours to go, I came to my senses. I threw on some walking shoes and slipped on some thermals and a jacket, and yelled at my mother I'll be back in 2 or 3 hours. Making the drive to Butcher's Dam, a favourite kayaking spot of mine. Next to the dam is Flat Top Hill Reserve, an AMAZING spot for keen mountain bikers, but also for day hikers.
Always wanting to go walking there, I do not understand why I have not before, because honestly guys, THIS WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE PART OF MY TRIP. It even made the dinner with my family and friends at the local pub after so much more rewarding and enjoyable.
I planned to just walk around the dam, but the aerobic exercise of climbing up the hill and years of curiosity building, was literally calling to me. There are many routes to take in the reserve, but with daylight hours short, all I did was walk along the dam wall from the car park in a clockwise direction and then head up some of the tracks that go clockwise around the reserve, with literally just following any random track as my heart pleased when I got up there. I only explored a small portion of the reserve. Luckily, even with my rando walking and all, prominent landmarks are always visibe and it is easy to maintain your bearings. A map is always useful though, because the reserve seems small from the dam... untill you get up there.
Here is the Department of Conservation website link to the reserve for information on the tracks up there: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/otago/places/alexandra-area/flat-top-hill-conservation-area/
All in all, what made this day so great?
1. It's a beautiful spot - it was a lovely overcast the day when I went, the mountains were snow capped and the lake a glassy mirror doubling up the visual feast. Plus, there is just something about the still winter air and they grey skies that do some seriously amazing things with colours in Central Otago.
2. The dam was full and over flowing, what a spectacular site.
3. The walk had a story - from the carpark that treats you with the lake views, walking to the over flowing dam, it starts with a punch of "F#&#^# so blood beautiful", then brings you into calm with a landscape in shades of browns, earthy greens and greys as you start walking around the bottom of the hill and climbing. If you go the way I went, you will at the end of the climb stumble upon the Roxburough river, an incredible vibrant blue at the back of the reserve, which is a building block towards the climax. The climax following after a brief stroll around big boulders and rocks on top of the hill, then bam it hits you the second time. That dam view, but this time you are standing above it and you can see far! After that washes over you heading back down with views eases you back to the carpark feeling SAT-IS-FIED and goood.
4. I found these little shrooms, man do I love the fungi!
5. Tottally pressure relief, letting out pent up frustration.