Nicholas P. Arkis


Nicholas P. Arkis

The thrill of any trip is in the journey itself. It is the adventure that lends perspective and meaning to the end. I have long dreamed of going on an epic adventure. Now it appears that the journey required to attain it has presented itself to me.

I will be traveling to New Zealand for three months to backpack throughout the country and immerse myself in the culture. I have dreamed of this adventure for years, and now find myself in the fortunate position to embark on it. Though perhaps now somewhat a cliché, New Zealand was brought to my attention nearly a decade ago when I first saw The Lord of the Rings. I've wanted to go there ever since. I will be traveling with one of my best friends, Chad Stoesz, and my brother Andrew Arkis. We've already shared in many adventures together, and I look forward to the opportunity to take our trouble making international.

I have been backpacking for years at this point; however, this will be the first journey I've undertaken of such epic scale. I welcome the challenge, and will keep this blog as a record of my travels. I hope to update it once a week. Send me questions or post comments, and follow me as I journey there and back again.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began,
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many path and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Lord of the Rings
The Old Walking Song sung by Bilbo Baggins

Chad's Blog: tramperchad
Andrew's Blog Procrastinatingblogger

North America » United States » Colorado April 6th 2011

March 30, 2011 - Homeward Bound Chad and I said our good-byes to Nigel and Tamara last night. We had to leave early in the morning for the airport. My alarm was set for 3:45. I didn't need it. At 3:30 I was awake and ready to go. I find my emotions a bit contradictory. Sad to be going, yet excited that we're leaving. The van picks us up right on time, at 4:00. Soon we've been dropped at Auckland International Airport, and have gone through security. Having been away from my friends and family for so long, I'm ready to return. I'm not sure exactly what my life has in store for me when I get back to America, but it sure feels good to be going home. At 7:15 the plane rolled down the ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island March 28th 2011

March 14, 2011 - Cave Stream After our adventures in Arthur's Pass, we returned to Jim and Helen's in Christchurch. We thoroughly clean, return, and thank them for the use of their car. Having access to a vehicle was essential to our journeys being possible the way they were, and we can't express enough gratitude for it. We had a few days to kill before catching the ferry to the North Island, so we decided to take a brief trip to see Cave Stream. This is back towards Arthur's Pass. Cave Stream is exactly that: a cave with a stream. It's much more exciting then that, but it is difficult to imagine. Unfortunately we weren't able to get any pictures of it. The cave is about one kilometer long. Inside it is pitch black, so you ... read more
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March 4, 2011 - Carrington Hut After the last tramp, I needed some rest. And I got it. Several very nice rest days. Before too long though, you start to feel the itch to get back out. We had made our way to Christchurch to resupply at Jim and Helen's. We headed out and drove to Lake Clearwater to camp for the night. It was very windy, but we managed to find a place to camp in some trees, which provided shelter from the gales. In the morning we drove by Mount Sunday. The small green bump lies in the midst of a gigantic green valley. What makes it cool is that it is where Edoras, the capital of Rohan was built and filmed for the Lord of the Rings. Starring at the hill, I allowed ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island March 1st 2011

Feb. 23, 2011 - A Pain in the Ass We waited yesterday in Hokatika for our friends from Christchurch. Thankfully, they were unharmed by the devastating earthquake which had struck the city earlier that day. To kill time, we washed our clothes and get our food supplies for the next tramp: Ivory Lake. This tramp will be mostly a route, and should be the hardest of the tramps that we've undertaken. At 8:00 p.m. Helen, her son Rowan, and his friend Matt arrived to meet us. We immediately set off for the trail head, as it would be getting dark soon. The road to the tramp's start is long and twisty. When we arrive at the end of the road, it's too dark to start, so we pitch tents and camp for the night. We won't ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast » Franz Josef February 22nd 2011

Feb. 19, 2011 - Franz Josef Glacier Today we got up and going quickly. We had arrived in a DoC campsite and pitched the tents in the previous evening. The previous day began with a drive to see the Pancake Rocks. These are a strange phenomenon on the west coast, where some rocks look like thin giant pancakes stacked atop of one another. Very interesting, if somewhat bizarre, to see. We left, having decided to drive somewhere to camp, and headed back south along the coast. On the way Chad spots on the side of the road our German friend Mariana, who we met on Stewart Island. It truly is a small world among New Zealand's tramping community. We stop and chat with her for a while. We told her we were going to check out ... read more
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Feb. 10, 2011 - Brewster Hut After Stewart Island, we took a few well deserved rest days. Setting out from Invercargill, we went northwest through Dunedin. There, we toured the Speight's Brewery, the makers of the most popular beer in the South Island. This was a fabulous experience (the free sampling at the end of the tour was especially enjoyable!). It's a entertaining and enlightening tour. From there we spent an evening in Queenstown, and then headed to Wanaka to plan our next set of adventures. Along the way, we stopped at a winery and sampled some wines. This is something I could get used to. Never been to a vineyard before, and I enjoyed that. I bought us a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner. The hostel we stayed at had a staff birthday, ... read more
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Jan. 28, 2011 - Bungaree Hut An early start, for what promises to be an epic tramp. South, off the tip of New Zealand's South Island lies Stewart Island. This is our next destination. We rise at 6:00 in order to make it to the small southernmost town of Bluff in time to catch the 8:00 ferry. The crossing takes about one hour. We had nice calm seas, and before long arrive in Halfmoon Bay in the only town on the island, Oban. We check in briefly with DOC, and we're tramping by 10:00. The terrain of Stewart Island is not overly difficult, although the mud can be quite substantial (sometimes over waist deep). The real difficulty lies in the tramp's length, which clocks in at roughly 80 miles. This makes for some pretty long days. ... read more
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Jan. 19, 2011 - Sugarloaf Pass We left our peaceful stay in Invercargill on the 18th, and traveled to Queenstown. Cool place. I hope to get to chill there a bit. We got our food, and headed out to Glenorchy. We stayed in a hostel and set out from there. It's Jan. 19th, and by 11:00 we're on the trail. The trail wouldn't last for long, however, as we are doing a route (my favorite!). We hike through dense forest for a while, and suddenly we're above tree line. The views are very cool up there, unobstructed by the trees. When we at last reach Sugarloaf Pass I am grateful for mostly clear skies. This pass was rather easy going. I hope for more like it. We head down the other side of the mountain to ... read more
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Jan. 13, 2011 - The Way In We stayed in a hostel in a small town called Tuatapere. At 8:30am we were picked up by hired transport, and taken to the start of the Dusky Track. This is considered to be one of New Zealand's more challenging tramps, but I was confident I'd be able to do it at this point. We had packed nine days worth of food (read: heavy packs). To reach the start of the track, you take a boat to the other side of a giant lake called Lake Hauroko. The ride takes about an hour. The water was smooth as glass, and the sights along the way are fantastic. Once on the other side we are immediately assaulted by sandflies (this assault would be constant). We use a hut near the ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand January 12th 2011

Jan. 8 - Jan. 12th, 2011 We climbed down from Meuller Hut and headed out towards Wanaka. This is a sweet little town on a lake. It's very scenic. We camped the night in Wanaka. Chad had developed a nasty head cold. That night was the worst, as he looked pretty bad. Andrew may also be getting this cold. Time will tell. We've taken some extra sick days to heal up, so hopefully all will be alright. The next day on the 9th we headed out again, bound south. We past through Queenstown, but didn't take any time to look around. The drive though the countryside was very awesome. Some incredible rolling hills and mountain ranges. Most of the towns we come to seem to be located on giant lakes. The water is the bluest that ... read more
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