When does a walk become a hike? When does a hike become a trek? Is a hike or a trek bigger? Is hiking just walking off-road? How pretentious do you have to be to call it hiking and buy a headlamp and walking sticks and then tell everybody you’re going hiking?
‘I’m not gonna be able to fit everyone on, ay.’
It was the first logistical fuck up I’d encountered in my two weeks in New Zealand. Everything had been efficient, well ordered and polite. Even the transvestite bus driver was amiable and full of stories of varying degrees of interest. But now high season in the popular Bay of Islands tourist destination had got the better of a fledgling tour company and 20 people were lining up on the dock to fill five remaining seats in the high speed ferry. After a Chinese family pushed their way past the other patient customers to take the spots I asked how long it would be to send another boat.
‘Well. I’m the driver,’ he said tucking his shirt in to his high pants, ‘and the other driver’s here too, and the boat’s docked at the island. So, at least an hour.’
It took about three days to reach the summit, and that was from the base camp. To get there it was a two-hour four-wheel-drive down a bumpy, flooded track from the nearest town. To get to that town it was an overnight bus ride. And that´s if you´re already in Venezuela. It´s not convenient. But natural wonders usually aren’t.