fp10So and no otherwise
Hillmen desire their Hills.
– Rudyard Kipling, The Sea and the Hills.

Dawn in Pleasant Gully. The Te Moana River chatters in its bed of stones.  A bellbird drops limpid notes from the cover of a broadleaf tree.  Wisps of fog hang in the bushy ravines and tussocky basins beneath the summit of Fiery Peak, which stands like a sentinel overlooking the valley.  The rising sun paints its bluffs and screes crimson and gold.

I sit on the step of the Pleasant Gully Hut drinking coffee and watching the day arrive.  I can see the steep track I will be climbing today.  It zig-zags up a long spur and disappears over Fiery Pass, notched into the ridgeline of the Four Peaks Range.  The sky is deep blue; this November day promises to be hot.  I finish my coffee, close the hut door and set off uphill.

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Travel Writer and Photographer based in the village of Geraldine on New Zealand's beautiful South Island.

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