This is the story of Keith… or Keith the queef as Louise likes to call him. As mentioned in the previous blog I first met him in Te Puia, till this day we still can’t remember what he looks like. Some say he looks like a beaver (louise) others (me) say he looks like Boy George without the make up. All we know for certain is he had a lovely tattoo of Amy Winehouse on his arm and wore a bowler hat.
In Taupo you have the option to do the Tongariro alpine crossing, you climb up mount doom and cross over mordor. The walk up the mountain is apparently very hard, there is no set path just tracks where people have gone before and you are on your hands and knees climbing up parts. It’s 17km, takes 8 hours and costs $65, im sure you’ll be shocked to hear I didn’t do it. However many crazy people did decide to do it, one of which being Keith. You are told the day before you have to be starting to go up Mt. Doom by 9:15am if you haven’t made it up the devils staircase and starting your way up by then you shouldn’t go up. Keith clearly didn’t listen to this advice, people saw him going up as they were coming down… and that’s the last time he was seen alive… jokes he did survive, just. But he was seriously left on the mountain over night.
The next day on the bus rumours were going around the bus that someone was still not back. Our driver ‘Q’ commented “I’ve never left anyone behind before” and with that off we drove. Throughout the day everyone was discussing it and as time went on we all got a bit more concerned, I think we all thought at one point he was dead. It wasn’t until 4pm (so he now hadn’t been seen for over 30 hours) that our driver got a text through to say they had found him. With that sam just shouted from the back “alive?”. A question we were all wondering. Thankfully he was and we all cheered and since then he has become a legend of the bus.
Rumours kept coming around about what happened on the mountain, the best one being he slept behind a rock!! It wasn’t until we were in Queenstown that we found out what happened to him on the mountain that night. He had got on a bus a few behind us and we met a girl who had spoken to him. Turns out as he went up he lost visibility completely, he claims to have not stopped walking the whole time, scared he would get hyperthermia if he stopped. He did stop behind a rock for a bit, so that rumour was true. He got so tired and dehydrated he was starting to hallucinate and imagine people (probably Amy Winehouse). The rain was a welcome relief for him so he could refill his water bottle. Search and rescue was out at night and he screamed for them but they didn’t see or hear him. He didn’t know where he was going (in my opinion I would just walk down but “apparently” he couldn’t figure out what was down and what was up… bullshit if it was that steep I think it would be obvious). The next day he finally made it to one of the little huts where a search and rescue guy was waiting, he just asked him if he was Keith as they’d been looking for him. When they touched his arm he just passed out from exhaustion relieved he was finally safe.
When we were told this me and lou were pissing ourselves, the girl took it very seriously. I dunno why, he was alive. Im glad all was well with him, his story certainly brought much laughter to our bus.