Friday, December 28, 2007

Out of the bush!

Sorry for the lag in blog posts, Chris and I have recently emerged from two weeks in the bush. After two tracks, the Kepler and the Routeburn, we are taking a much needed break in Queenstown.

Queenstown is the center for tourism in the area, kind of a shocker for us after backpacking. Think Sun Valley. Not quite our vibe, but we were able to find a hostel on a hill just above the city. We spent the day yesterday with a few 12 packs of Tui lounging in the sun looking out at the city and mountains. The sun here is super strong due to a lack of ozone, so while Seaners and I ate it up, Chris had to cover up. Great afternoon, we couldn't have asked for better weather.

Now for a little rewind...the rest of our time in Dunedin was great. After the math conference ended we were able to drive out to our professor's house just north of the city. Awesome. The house is set up on the cliffs and looks straight down to the beach. Even with the wind and rain the ocean and sand reminded me of being in Hawaii. We spent the night playing a game similar to charades with all the math professors and went for a walk along the cliffs and beach in the morning before driving back to Dunedin.

Chris and I caught a bus over to Te Anau, the jumping off point for our first backpacking trip. The Kepler track started on the shores of a beautiful lake before climbing up to a ridgeline. We continued across the ridge to a nearby valley before descending and making our way back around to the beginning of the track. Chris is going to write more about this track in a bit.

Ending in Te Anau again, we stumbled our way back, our poor legs had been through a lot. It was painful just to get out of bed, but on the upside I guess my thyroid drugs must be working because I was able to make it up and down almost 3000 ft in a day without dying. After a quick nap and laundry we made our way into town again to find some food. We had been thinking about pizza for most of the 20 km forced march back to the trailhead. We were wandering the streets and scoping out a potential dinner place when we saw a head of curly hair come running out - Mr. Sean McCarron! We were planning on meeting Sean the following day at the first hut on the Routeburn. Quite the coincidence.

I am going to end for now since I want to call Ethan to wish him happy birthday. More on the Routeburn to come, along with Chris's post on the Kepler Track. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Miss you all. Also, here are the first of some pictures! I will probably post a most extensive album on Facebook.



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