Kinloch Lodge

Trip Start Jan 14, 2008
Trip End Feb 21, 2008

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Milford Sound gets more rainfall than anywhere on earth, but our day there couldn't have been better for sea kayaking: flat calm in the morning and a soft tailwind in the afternoon as we were returning. Again we had an excellent guide and learned loads about the sound as we paddled the 14 km around its shores. We saw fur seals, dolphins, and many, many flight-seeing planes and helicopters and cruise ships. It was gorgeous, but not quiet.

Our guides then dropped us and our packs at the Divide, the start of the Caples Track, the first and only tramp we'll be doing that's not a Great Walk. Again, the second day was the most spectacular, but it was also the longest and most demanding of any day so far--7 hours to do 15 km, a third of it straight uphill over roots and rocks (handholds required), and a third of it straight down, and very hard on the knees. We had expected rain, but again our tramping life, at least weatherwise, seemed charmed, and last night it began raining hard after we'd bedded down in the hut, and quit at 8 am. It cleared off and was a brilliant day; in fact only our boots got soaked as we walked through shining rain-drenched meadow grass, following the Caples River down the valley. We just managed to catch the 2 pm shuttle bus to Kinloch Lodge--our Valentine's Day splurge and also our shuttle to the beginning of the Routeburn track, which we will begin tomorrow morning. What a lovely spot! Kinloch is very near the location used for Isengard in Lord of the Rings.

P.S. Jim reports he sighted a New Zealand falcon today.

Mary Ellen

From Sidney--
I've really realized how important it is to me that people keep up with the blog. It really makes me feel like people are paying attention, especially when they post comments. Thanks everyone!

On another note, I saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets today. That's the fourth Harry Potter film we've seen in New Zealand, so all we have to do now is watch number five. We also saw The Golden Compass here; it's great to have finally seen this movie (they don't show it in Sylva because of supposedly atheist content).

So that's really all I need to say right now; bye!
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