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!
Slideshow Report as Spam


annies-b on

Such a variety of landscapes
Looking back over your photo's - what a variety of terrain - hills, rainforest, glaciers, mts, fiords, on and on - New Zealand has it all. Love every minute. Cheers - Annie & Jerry - and a good cup of TEA!

kmickler on

Yes Sidney, I'm enjoying the blogs so much. Thank you! It all looks so spectacular. Karen

smithgjanet on

Hello Sydney,
There couldn't be a better place to see the Hary Potter movies! Matt and i are enjoying listening to them on CDs/reading them, however the magic of what you're experiencing is incredible! We're taking notes... in hopes of visiting NZ ourselves. You sure make it enticing! Janet and the crew

adperrin on

Politics for Sidney

Obama won Wisconsin tonight. It was supposed to be close but he won comfortably. This makes 9 straight wins for him. He also holds the lead in the delegate count. The next primaries on March 4 in Ohio and Texas may be the clincher if he can defeat Hillary...or not, if she makes a big comeback. It may depend on whether he makes a big mistake in the public eye. Everything he says or does now is immediately broadcast in some form and since he's clearly the front runner, everyone is on the watch for mis-steps.

Interestingly, I saw a projection of the rest of the primaries and if he won them all by similar vote margins, he still wouldn't have enough delegates for the nomination. The same goes for Hillary. Since the Democrats portion delegates by the vote count, either of them would have to start winning by larger majorities to have the necessary delegates for nomination by the end of the primary season. Isn't that cool?...well, if you like politics.

My guess is Hillary will drop out to unify the party should she lose on March 4. McCain is already running against Obama and is gaining an advantage in that he is able to spend his ad money by contrasting himself against his eventual opponent. Obama, meanwhile, has to run against Hillary while spending some of his resources to counter McCain.

Looks like there'll be plenty of politics left for you to enjoy when you get home.


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