Hello dear family and friends. I just got back to Wellington on the 18th after having an absolutely amazing two weeks in the south island. As is often the case it is pretty strange being back in the “real world” surrounded by people all doing their part to keep a city moving and alive. Reading through my first chunk of emails had me literally feeling dizzy. Like I was recalibrating to a world with non-verbal interaction. I feel as though I am walking through a zoo of people who don’t even realize they are caged and are voluntarily staying within its confines. But returning also feels good. I know this city so well that it is definitely comfortable coming back and it is nice to view things through the shifted perspective that time in the wilderness always gives me. That being said it definitely does not feel as real as where I have been. I feel I have learned far more in these last two weeks than I have all semester here so far. And the learning has taken place on a felt level deeper than the intellectual. Because of that I don’t think I can verbalize it and frankly I don’t really want to try. But I would be happy to update you all on what I did during my two weeks. I will break this up into multiple posts based on different Tramps I did.
Arrival in Queenstown April 4 – 5th
Justin, David and I landed in Queenstown on a beautiful sunny afternoon and threw on our bags and headed up into Ben Lomond to camp for the night. We found a perfect little ledge a few hundred meters off the trail just wide enough for our tent. We made a little dinner and settled in for the night. As we sat and enjoyed our food a shape appeared on the ridgeline in the dying light. A fox? We all watched as it sniffed in our direction and then disappeared over the ridgeline only 5 meters or so above us. We got up and shined our flashlights to see 3 or 4 of the most adorable little animals along the ridgeline and in the surrounding trees. They looked like small lemurs. We later found out that these are the New Zealand possum. Below is a photo of one (I did not take this I just found in online Photo 1)
We woke up the next morning and headed into town to see if we could get to a trail head that day but unfortunately all the busses had left already so we planned one for first the next morning. We spend the rest of Easter Sunday walking around Queenstown. We skipped rocks in the lake and sat and admired the uniqueness of this small town. It had a quaint vibe but at the same time there was every manner of extreme sport happening all around us. There were Para gliders floating down from the ridgeline, parasailers being pulled in front of us, there was a person a bit way out in the lake riding a water jetpack, there were kayakers, a few people drove jet ski like machines that looked like sharks and were watertight flying through the water, others rode speed boats as they spun and whipped through the water, there was a steam boat tour and behind us seemingly endless busses leaving with bungee jumpers and skydivers. The backdrop for all of this was the most beautiful mountain view (Photos 2 and 4) complete with low cloud bands contouring along the mountains (Photos 3 and 4). The lake muted the sound off everything creating a dreamlike aura and maintaining the quaint feeling. It was very surreal.
We spend the rest of the day exploring and then spent the night at an amazing little backpackers called butterfli.
The next morning we got up early and were on a bus by 8 to the Greenstone Caples trailhead.
Photo 1 - Two New Zealand Possums
Photo 2 - View From Queenstown
Photo 3 - View From Queenstown Cloud Bands
Photo 4 - View From Queenstown Panorama