Mount Cook is “my mountain”. It took my breath away the first moment I saw it many years ago, and it never fails to make my heart beat fast every time I am blessed to have another chance to stand in front of it. We have my paintings and photos of it hanging on the walls at home, and Daniel waves good bye to Mount Cook every night he goes to bed. Mount Cook witnessed some of the happiest moments of our lives, so naturally I had been dreaming of taking Daniel to see it from even before he was born. So our first family holiday had to be in New Zealand, naturally.
We saw Mount Cook from the plane as we were flying towards Queenstown. It was such a sweet surprise to be flying so close to it, but I couldn’t show it to Daniel as he was peacefully asleep in my arms after long hours of travel.
As we were leaving Queenstown three days later to start our drive to Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo, I kept checking the weather forecast which was, unfortunately, not very promising. It was supposed to rain, rain, rain for the next three or four days. Which meant heavy clouds hanging low on the mountain, hiding it from our view, with no chances to see it. And rain it did. We spent two days inside our motel room or inside the car, taking shelter from the rain and the wind, but still venturing out for the drives around Lake Pukaki as the mountains are stunningly beautiful in any weather.
But on the morning of our last day in Mount Cook Village we woke up to starry, clear skies, despite the forecast. We quickly dressed our little one in layers and layers of warm clothing, and rushed to the lookout in front of The Hermitage. And my mountain was there, in all its glory. I lifted Daniel up, and pointed towards Mount Cook. “There.” I said. “This is our mountain, my little darling”.
We were lucky to have that clear morning, so lucky. We even managed a trek along Hooker Valley, to walk closer to Mount Cook, to be surrounded by one of the most stunning landscapes we ever witnessed. The clouds came back in the afternoon when we were already in Lake Tekapo, and it rained in Mount Cook village for days, so we never got the chance to see our mountain again during our holiday.