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Published: February 26th 2009
heading off on the trek!
we queued up with everyone else to wait to have our photo taken by the sign. tacky. touristy. but PROOF.
this was a while ago already, but these are the pictures i have available today so it's what you're going to get.
i hiked the routeburn and greenstone tracks with michelle, the woman i met in christchurch. it was great to get out in the "wilds," kind of funny though. the first, the routeburn, was what is classified here as a "great walk" and i learned that all that means is that so many people have hiked it that the parks service huts (that's right, the parks service here provides HUTS you can stay in on treks through the woods ... who needs a tent anyway?) have become more and more well equipped so you have to pay extra money to stay in them. exciting, i know. i personally would have thought it had something to do with the actual worth of the walk, not just its popularity. in any case. it was a good time. the alpine views were, of course, amazing. but we can get those back at home every day, so i thought the cooler part was the forest. it was seriously rainforest. there were these gnarly (and i mean that in the real sense, not the
surfer/skier sense) old trees covered
in moss, giant boulders also covered in moss, and a carpet of ferns. everything was green green green.
the second track on our journey was the greenstone, it was fabulous. beautiful, easy, we stayed in huts because you can use backcountry huts passes for them on the non-great walks. AWESOME swing bridges, made out of metal instead of wood. everything was just a little less obviously kept up.
there were parts of the hike that looked like a fairy tale forest. i can see exactly why they filmed lord of the rings here (and because people have to mention that movie EVERYWHERE you go, you can't help but think about it as you're walking and seeing the epic scenery). one day i found myself walking through a valley, staring up at the mountains that seem to come out of nowhere, wondering to myself how those little hobbits managed to just keep running the whole length of new zealand to get to mount doom without ever slowing down or stopping to eat or drink water. i've only seen those movies once, i blame the hype down here.
we met some great people on
they say people are "disappointed" by the greenstone just because it's not a big alpine climb. i give it two thumbs up: less people, cheaper huts, forests, higher and scarier swing bridges, and more variation. plus, you still see mountains.
the hikes, there were these two older women (maybe 65 and 74?) hiking the track and they were really fun, one was south african and the other australian, apparently they get together twice a year in different places just to hike together, how cool is that? got eaten alive by sand flies, actually WORSE than mosquitoes if you can believe it. at first you don't think so, then two days later they start to itch and never stop
. at least that's what i'm convinced of at this point. i can let you know when i get home if my thoughts on that have changed.
since then i've parted ways with michelle, gone down to dunedin for a few days, and then down and through the catlins with some swedish folks i first met back in christchurch. tonight i find myself up in wanaka and i'll give you a better update on all of that when i have those photos with me.
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