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Published: November 16th 2014
Okay, behind in blogs and now too far out, so abbreviated end of NZ blog. Gimme a break fools.
(Music: album; With a little help from my fwends - Flaming Lips)
For our last full day, we set out to do a hike by the very elusive Mount Cook. We have been trying to see this mountain top from multiple cities and look outs, but clouds, timing and weather has prevented any real view. So in our minds, it doesn't really exist yet. So we drive to Mount Cook from Wanaka, and arrive at quite a posh little resort community. There's a 5 star hotel and a really nice museum at the trail heads and a gift shop. There are exhibits on the history of the mountain, including the longest, deadliest, and highest rescue efforts of failed mountain summits. A group of 4 first summited the mountain in 1948, including Sir Edmund Hillary, the pioneer who first summited Mount Everest with Tensing Norgay, and a woman Ruth Adams. A few notable accounts include a different climb when Ruth Adams fell multiple feet after her rope broke and she had to be lowered down on a mattress (a 2 week rescue effort). Also two climbers who where trapped in a cave for 13 days after a blizzard, Mark Inglis and Phillip Doole, lost their legs from frostbite. Inglis later summited Mount Cook and Mount Everest at later dates with his prosthetic legs.
The weather is on and off, but we set off on a three hour hike which circles through previous glacier lands and promises good view of the Cook if the clouds break. Of course, the clouds are completely dense today and our chances seem grim. The hike climbs through swing bridges and rolling hills, and ends at an unexpected and gorgeous glacier pool. So even without a view, we have landed ourselves in a breathtaking sanctuary. But behold, halfway through our return, the sun starts to shine and I turn and see the tip of Cook through a teeny circular break in the clouds. We snap some pictures and revel in the 30 seconds of accomplishment, and then - nada. But we got ours.
The drive back is incredible. I can't describe how blue the water is. Since it is glacier fed, it is full of sediment, and the salt creates a dense water which affords a rich turquoise shine that no words can capture. You're gonna have to come see it for yourself.
We end at Lake Tekapo ( tee ka po ) which on whole is just a nothing experience. Worst motor inn we have stayed in, and ironically the most expensive, and cold, cold weather and a coin operated shower (I guess these exist). The lake is- meh. Maybe it's better in the summer. The motor inn is completely full however, so this is obviously a popular tourist destination. The one highlight - amazing salmon sushi rolls - honestly humongous luscious pieces of fresh salmon stuffed into seaweed and rice circles of heaven.
End of the trip was uneventful and we both fly out of Christchurch the next day. We sadly say goodbye to our Korean Nissan who turned out to be a reliable and dutiful guide. I was so sad to see Anjali go- my sister from another mister, my best friend. So happy to have shared this with her.
So end lessons:
If you have money, stay at the resort at Mt Cook. Do the hike, but only summit if very experienced. Frost bite is a bitch.
Skip Lake Tekapo. But if you're stuck there, eat the salmon.
NZ is a slow paced, breathtaking place, really a great vacation destination for whatever you are looking for - except for consistent weather!
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