Oct 15, 2009

The Great Final New Zealand Expedition Part 1

My apologies for the delay in the continuation of my west coast camping trip.

My internet life has been hit by something of a fantastic "good" natural disaster. Peter alikens it to an avalanche of chocolate, which would be great for those who survive it, but still be deadly for those crushed by it.

Traumador has finally made his big break, I'd always been hoping for... However I'm just not prepared for it being this week, and I've been struggling to keep up with it all.

Despite this I've opted to hammer through the camping story (as I've had two of my people actively skype me for the story).

So as you'll recall the car broke down the morning of our intended departure. By the time it'd been repaired we were no longer in the morning, rather early afternoon a good 5-6 hours after we'd planned to depart. As there were a number of things on east side (our side) of the mountain pass we were going to have to cross, we thought we might push the trip back a weekend.
However when forecasts (which are out right now outside!) indicated the weather would be awful in a week, and plus we were going to be depressed hulks of sadness all weekend, it was decided screw it. Why not just go for it!
So with the threat of sunset looming on the mountain pass, we booked it up the main highway of the south island, till just short of Christchurch as which point we headed inland towards Arthur's Pass. An area neither me nor Lady R had been too before...
Despite the lovely weather of the day, some slight systems had passed through the area. It still being just early spring down here resulted in snow dumped on the mountains. Lovely to look at, as you can see here by our approach to the pass. However if we had hit earlier in the day before it melted it would have made the higher roads inaccessible to the OX (my car... my license plate starts with these two letters).
Fortunately the roads had been cleared by a days worth of traffic and sun. So our late departure had one benefit. Apparently until 2pm the topmost road was closed.

Despite this one benefit, the lowering sun caught us at my personal key destination on the east portion of Arthur's Pass. That was the Castle Hill rocks. As we arrived the sun had set on the majority of the section. These were a key location in Narnia, and a minor one in Lord of the Rings. I have at least seen them. Sadly didn't get to go as up close or get many pictures of them as I'd hoped. Can't win them all I guess... and I at least DID see them!

There were quite a few cool little limestone outcrops in the area still in the light at least.
Anyways we hit the summit of the pass as proper sunset, and as we descended onto the west coast we did so in the dark.
Arriving at our camp ground literally as the office was closing we just managed to nab a site (though with our morning we'd earned the karma shift). Thankfully we'd bought a great new tent just for this trip. One of its key features being how easy it is to setup. In the pitch black, minus headlamps and OX's headlights, we had the whole thing up in just over 10 minutes.
We feel asleep knowing nothing about our surroundings, other then we were right beside the ocean. Little did we know the wonders we were going to wake up to!
Stay tuned for part 2


Albertonykus said...

Now that sounds more like it! Let's see what's next...

Dinorider d'Andoandor said...

oh, Narnia!

you're really lucky, Craig!