Elizabeth and Caleb visited us from Boston recently. This visit had been in the works for months and was all planned around us getting to finally do the Routeburn Track, which is quite justified in being called one of the best walks in the world. At the last minute, we got a surprise: another visitor! Eva (who lived with Mekayla and her mom for a year in 1995) decided to come visit all the way from Berlin. She had no choice but to join the intrepid trampers.
It is about 32km over three days. It turned out to be a lot easier than we thought it would be. I originally read the elevation change to be 1200 meters. Mekayla and I had done one walk recently that was that steep, and it was grueling. We were surprised by how quickly we arrived at the first hut until we realized that the map we had was nicely translated into feet for the foreigners. Apparently I now think using the metric system. 1200 feet is a lot less daunting than 1200 meters.
But even though it was not as difficult as we had expected, it was really magnificent. So without further ado:
Mekayla and I are heading off tomorrow to tramp the Kepler Track. It also should be amazing.
My, how time waddles. Time is flightless here just like many of the birds. For instance, the penguin:
We’ve been exploring all over the South Island the past two months, both on our own and with various visitors who have accompanied us. Tomorrow we head off again to meet up with more visitors, so we thought we’d try and post a few pictures before we leave again.
We went kayaking up in Kaikoura.
Where we walked through a vast colony of seals (and took 300+ pictures).
We went tramping in Arthur’s Pass where we stayed one night in this great little hut.
Mekayla attended a Permaculture Design Course (which she says she’ll post on eventually) up in the Tui community near Abel Tasman NP. Here is one of the houses there. Unfortunately we never saw it while the dragon was smoking because it wasn’t cold enough yet for them to be using the fireplace.
And here is a vast set of sand dunes near Farewell Spit at the northern tip of the South Island.
These photos are just to whet your appetite. We spent the past two weeks sorting and editing all of the photos we have taken in New Zealand. 7500 photos has now been reduced to 1600. When we get back from the two week trip we leave on tomorrow we’ll start uploading sets of them for people to enjoy.
There is a very important announcement which requires us to break our silence: we have flatmates! And flat-cats! And flat-wireless internet access (but Mekayla thinks this is less important).
We have been very distracted by the South Island these past weeks, and keep wandering away from Christchurch to go exploring in the mountains and discover locations to go for some multiday backpacking in the future.
We went for a real Kiwi style tramp this past weekend. We didn’t have to ford a river, but we did stay in a hut. We fell asleep to the bleating of sheep and the scurrying of mice. Next time we need to do more than one night.
The hut system in New Zealand is extensive. People wander through the wilderness for days, and spend their nights warming up and drying out in the huts. You have to have some place to dry out when your trek requires you to ford multiple rivers each day. The one we stayed in was a three room stone house built in 1919. Not too much had changed in it since it was built. Except that the old black and white photos of the place looked much cozier.