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Published: February 7th 2008
Today marked the beginning of our National Park Adventure tours-hikes of the South Island! We started up at Abel Tasman, which is on the coastline and dotted with many private beaches accessible only by hikers and boaters! We did a 3 hour hike to a remote beach and the rewards were plenty! i wish I had a picture to share, but unfortunately I forgot the memory card in the other camera that day! Soooo, we have many amazing mental pictures of islands, coastlines, and jungle fever! You will have to forgive my storytelling here, as this was over a month ago and I didnt bring my notes! 😊
AFter a cheese and sausage snack, we hit the road to our first informal campsite, at an amazing lake in the middle of the south island. On the way there, we came across a traffic stop in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, well, to be fair, almost anywhere in NZ in the middle of nowhere! THeres never more than a two line road, usually winding back and forth, up and down insanely beautiful exotic terrain. If you get to a city, it usually has a geographical marker, 4 houses, and a convienence store.
ANd rarely a gas station...but thats a story for another day! Anyways, they had 4 cops stopping all traffic going both ways (heres where i thought, great, theyre going to confisgate my disco ball bottle hanging from the sun visor!) and they asked ryan if he had been drinking, and in the same sentence asked him to state his name and address. He looked at me and then the cop all confused and then blew into the little black box she was holding to our window. Then the cop looked at US all confused and said, no, say your name! And he stumbled...uh...oh...ah...Ryan Mason? Um...um...2132 east locust....and she cut him off, showed the readout "No alcohol", rolled her eyes, and waved us through! HA! Stupid sober americans!
We rolled into the campsite at about dusk, and set to our daily duties of journal entries and guacomole assembly. The minute we started pulling out our supplies we were absolutely SWARMED With sandflies! I mean EVERYWHERE! It was NUTS! I could barely see masonś face! (A nice break from looking at each other, i guess!) I had very little insect repellant left from thailand, but it did the trick and saved
us for about an hour while we watched an amazing lake-mountain sunset and had dinner. Of course the bug repellent didnt last long enough though, because i was killing bugs all night and woke up with about 30 huge welts all over my feet and legs! It looked like i had a disease for about a week! We also had to take the sheets and shake the crap out of them for about 10 minutes....you dont even want to know how many dead bugs we saw in those sheets....ahhh...camping.
THe next morning was our first bath in a lake experience, and i since the water was cold and shallow, i had the great idea of taking the bucket out with us. So picture this= me and mason in knee deep freezing water, chasing our shampoo bottles all around the lake, dumping freezing water on our heads, and absolutely SWARMED by teeny tiny black sandflies! every time i would dump water over my head, id look at my arms and have like 20 of them on each arm! GRRRR! WE were planning on hiking around the lake but at this point we were like, lets get the heck out of
here! We went on to paparoa national park where we decided to do the cave hike! It wqas AWESOME! IT was about 2 hours deep and we started hiking STRAIGHT UP these moss covered slippery rocks for about 30 minutes! When we got to the top, we found the cave and went in .... with my one tiny head lamp for light. IT was sooo fun, about a 30 minute exploration into the very back of the cave, wondering when it will end, how someone found this place, and how dirty and wet could we get the camera and not totally ruin it!?
On our way back to the TRon we met an older couple from germany (during our cheese and sausage snakc) and chatted with them a while. WE got back to the tron dirty but Proud! We yelled out NAILED IT as we cracked a beer reward! NExt thing we know, the german couple comes over to us, asking us for a ride back into town! Yes! Our first (and only) hitch hikers! Now were travelers!! We dropped them off and went for another short hike to check out the pancake rock formations. REally cool and one
of the more famous sights in S. Island. Dont ask why they look like that...do you really think mason and i were reading the signs? 😊
We wanted to get a great beach sunset that night, so we pushed ourselves to get to the next town, grabbed our cheese and wine, and ran out to the beach to catch an amazing west coast sunset. WE agreed that we could get used to days like this!
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