Ernie and the Eagles Nest – Seven Mile Track

“On a Mish” #365 Ernie and the Eagles Nest. Seven Mile Point. Wilsons Bay / Lake Wakatipu. 1.2.2023. If you have the ability to get into the outdoors DO IT! You never know what the future holds, and for some the outdoors is now just an afterthought. When I hurt my hip I had my outdoor life taken away for a while. Losing it made me realised how important the wilderness is for both my mind and my soul. However to get my outdoor fix I have to temporarily forget about my ailments and push on against the pain. Sitting in a state of soreness sucks and if I want a future in the mountains I need to alter my approach to my adventures…

One thing I have really had to work on during my recovery is pacing. I seem to always go for an ‘all or nothing’ approach to everything. This has been a slight burden when it comes to physical activity, as many times I have pushed myself too far and then paid for it afterwards. Thankfully I have been on a Chronic Pain Recovery course and on the course we have been taught about pacing and not over doing it.

Another part of the course was setting a goal and hopefully achieving it by the end. My goal was to scale the Rapaki Track which connects the portside town of Lyttelton with Christchurch City. However with the course coming to an end and me being down south, I needed to come up with a plan B. And thanks to the fact that I was in Queenstown (while enroute to my home in Te Anau) I had many walks to choose from that would be around the same-ish length, time and challenge.

With the new knowledge of pacing under my belt I decided on the track up and out of Wilsons Bay to a highpoint known as the ‘Eagles Nest’.

Another reason for visiting Wilsons Bay is the fact that I have a new dog whose name is Ernie D Wilson.

So together we drove to one of Lake Wakatipu’s most visited bays for a wander up to the ‘Nest’.

Ernie D Wilson at Wilson’s Bay

Greys skies above and even darker clouds out west told us we only had a short amount of time before a walk became a wet walk.

I fastened Ernie’s harness and locked on his lead before semi-reluctantly stepping out into the sandflies. The first part of our walk was alongside the lake and the still morning air made for excellent reflections on the water. After a couple hundred metres of level travel the track began to climb towards the high point at the Eagles Nest. The feeling of uphill travel is one I enjoy 110% of the time in my mind, but at this point in time about 45% in my body (a massive improvement to the 5% I was feeling about 8 months ago).

With Ernie leading the charge we slowly crept up the track which weaved back and forth amongst the pine trees, always at an ankle testing angle.

I put my pacing learnings to the test and made sure I didn’t push myself too hard. This was made a little bit difficult by having my four-legged companion wanting to go as fast as his little legs would take him. Eventually we arrived at the junction of many tracks, both hiking and biking, and I soon realised that this was the Eagles Nest.

There wasn’t much to the place. Just a water tank for dogs to get a drink and that was about it. The large pine trees obscured any views of the lake and surrounding mountains, but I wasn’t here for the views.

Now with a feeling of soreness in my legs that I have actually really missed, I began my descent back to Wilsons Bay. When we arrived back at the car park both of us enjoyed a victory drink of water, Ernie from bowl me from bottle.

I had achieved my goal and was looking forward to ticking it off when I went to the final class of my course. I had also gone for a reasonable walk and not destroyed myself in the process. Looks like the course is doing what it is supposed to do and now it is time for planning the next achievable mission

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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