A Good Sort of Dispute

With a day off and the weather fine, yesterday I made for one of the gazillion day hikes in the area where I live: Moke Lake Loop, reportedly a two and a half hour trail. Whatever. One thing that really frustrates me about New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (the rough equivalent to the National Park Service in the States, more or less, but largely less…) is their trail descriptions. They never give distance or elevation gain, only how much time they claim it takes to do the hike, whether in their pamphlets, online or on the trail signs.

Problem is, those trail times are a joke. I would describe myself as a slow but steady hiker, yet I’ve done some hikes easily in half the time they allegedly take… and other hikes have taken me two or even three times as long as estimated.

In any case, the Moke Lake Loop, following the horseshoe-shaped lake’s cliffs and shore, was so easy and fast that I decided to tack on the route to and from nearby Lake Dispute. Later I looked on a map and figured out that I did ten miles all told, though it felt like half that. It was the kind of trail I could walk on for a long time… a little rolling but largely flat, with a couple steeper but manageable spots, beautiful scenery and not another soul in sight. Unless you count the cows and sheep, which I had to walk right past. Fortunately I’ve gotten over my bovinephobia so it wasn’t a problem. Still, I don’t like the way they look at me. I can tell they’re plotting something.

I don’t know why it’s called Lake Dispute, by the way… The DOC pamphlet I have is mum on that or any other useful information, and when I tried to search it online I found a lot of news stories about various waterway disagreements rather than an explanation for the name. So it will just have to have an air of mystery. Like those cows.


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