Glaciers, hot pools and muddy shoes

Trip Start Jan 19, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, March 26, 2011

I didn't think it was possible,... but NZ just keeps getting better and better.  We joke around that we are exhausted at the end of the day, because we can only process so much beauty on one day.  We are blown away with the syncronicity of everything and everyone we meet.  Everything just seems to work out perfectly... I"m assuming a by product of just living "in the flow".  It feels good,... that's for sure.

Well, we'll do a brief recap since the last blog....

On our way south from Punakaiki,... we stopped by and saw the Pancake Rocks and blowholes in which the area is named after.  Stylobedding is the natural weathering/layering process that gives the rocks a stacked pancake look... totally beautiful and different than anything we've seen thus far. 

Then we headed south a few hours to the Franz Josef Glacier... who knew there were glaciers in NZ??  I sure didn't before coming here.  Wow...  we just did a day hike up and on to the glacier instead of paying $400 for a guided tour with ice picks and such,... but it was still extremely beautiful.  Waterfalls everywhere misting rainbows along our path.  Climbing over rocks and river beds has become second nature to us here in the south island... rocks and water everywhere.  Makes the greenery even more lush and vibrant.  I love it... makes me feel at home. 

It ended up raining for a couple of days straight, so we decided it was time to take a breather from being on the go the whole time and chilled for a couple of days.  It's much colder here in the south island... and getting colder the farther south we go.  We ended up stopping at a second hand store and stocking up on fleece jackets, scarves, gloves and hats and finding a hostel in Fox glacier with a free hot tub and sauna.... ahhhh...  heaven.  We spent two full days doing laundry, reading, journaling and watching Lord of the Rings movies.  It was perfect.  It also worked out that we were near a cool pub to celebrate St. Patrick's day with the locals... they sure know how to party... we couldn't really hang. :) 

The Copland Track was next on the docket.  This track was recommended to us from 3 different people, so we took it as a sign to add it in.  20 hours of hiking in 3 days... climbing over boulders and fallen trees, through knee high icy water, river beds, and mud pits.  Sounds fabulous, huh?  It actually was though... my shoes were soaked the entire time, and I was covered in mud, but that just added to the excitement.  It made me appreciate the natural hot pools at the first hut even more.  We hiked 8 hours the first day ... got there, made food and got in the hot pools.  We sure needed that.  The pools were naturally about 40 degrees celsius (104 F) and the air was cool,... 360 degree view of the Alps and a full moon up ahead... purely magical.  I would have slept in there but was so tired I feared I might drowned.  The bed in the hut was perfectly comfortable and I slept til about noon.  Heiko and Colin went hiking further that day... while I opted to spend the day alone in the hot pools... I think I chose wisely.  We slept another night in the hut and then headed down the next morning for another 8 hour hike.  We had a group hug once we made it to the bottom... we were all exhausted.  It's always feels good to push ourselves past our comfort zone.

Then we headed farther south to Haast... an itty bitty town... with one restaurant, one cafe, one gastation, one hostel/ motel, no cell phone reception, 150 locals, and about 6 billion sand flies.  Holy shit!  The sand flies have definitely sucked here in the south island... we joke that the sand flies balance out the yin yang ratio of all the beauty in this region... because they really are little bastards. (excuse my french)  It doesn't  really matter what you put on... I sprayed a puddle of insect repellant directly on a sandfly and it seemed to bath in it and then bite me!  And the wetness of Haast was the perfect breeding ground for the sand flies... they were everywhere.  At night they aren't around,... just during the day,... so we hid out in the room during the day and then ventured out at night.

Colin and I competed in a pool competition there... we lost, but held our own and won the respect from the locals.  I was the only woman in the tournament.  IT was fun for sure.  We also got fresh mussels off the rocks and steamed them up for dinner one night.... mmmmmm.  Delishious!

We are now in Wanaka in a backpaker's hostel right by the lake.  Wanaka's great... a layed back town with an Asheville feel.  Massage/ healing arts flyers everywhere, vegetarian/ organic cafes and grocery stores,... fine arts theatre.  Who knows... we may just stay here for a few days... there are dozens of day hikes with incredible views nearby.  All in all, life is wonderful and we are constantly in a state of awe and gratitude. 

p.s.  Happy 3rd Birthday Adelyn and Happy 85th Birthday Grandmug... I love you both dearly.
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