Monday, March 30, 2009

Milford Sound

We just finished a 10-day hike yesterday and hitched into Milford Sound. It's not really a town, just a pub, a lodge and a information/booking place. We might take a boat ride to see the sound and then were going to start heading towards Stewart Island for a long tramp there.

Our laundry is starting to take on life of it's own. It no longer even smells remotely clean after we wash it. I dunno. I think it's combination of a whole lot of funk, cheap laundry soap and over-used/under-maintained washing machines. Either way, we stink.

Besides that we are doing well, feeling stronger on the uphills and confident in what we're doing.

We'll get some pictures posted soon.

pics from our last tramp...

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Takaka is in the far north of the South Island, Queenstown is in the far south. Alex and I spent the last four days on the road traveling from Takaka to Queenstown (13 hours driving time). We met a commercial fishing boat chef on his way to a 6-day shift on the boat, a man on his way to 4 days of coal mining, a young American girl who is trying to immigrate to New Zealand, a Indian couple from the UK that travels the world working in the oil industry, a local farmer who was proud his kids don't get bored on the farm on weekends, an accountant on his way to meet with some important money people and probably a few more I'm not recalling. All of the New Zealanders shared a common love for the 'native bush', from coal miner to accountant all could point out the native trees, the native birds and tell us the history of the land.

We spent one night on a beach in the middle of nowhere and enjoyed the first campfire of this trip. We had lunch at a salmon farm. We had this sandwich the call 'white bait', which is sort of like a bunch of minnows fried in egg. We past oceans, mountains, beaches, native bush and waterfalls. We spent hours on the side of the road, attempting to entertain each other while waiting for a ride.

We've been eating a lot of cheese, tomato and avocado sandwiches and Alex has had a nice cup of coffee every morning.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Hello everyone! Lucas and I got back from the Abel Tasman sea kayak/tramp trip yesterday and are now in Takaka, which is in the North West corner of the South Island at a hostel.

We had a lovely three day sea kayaking trip. The water was an incredible shade of blue and the coastline was a mixture of golden beaches and carved out cliffs. One of the major highlights was seeing a seal colony with baby seals. THEY WERE SO CUTE!!!!! We had one seal that kept swimming around our boat until we left the reserve.
On the third day, we dropped off our boat and slipped on our backpacks and continued on foot. I loved the way we did this trip as we got to see the coast line from two different perspectives.
There was something really special about this walk as we were so aware of the tides (they dictated whether or not we could cross the estuaries when we were on foot and dictated whether or not we had to drag our heavy boat to the high tide line). Also, there were so many amazing little ecosystems going on everywhere...We spent a lot of time looking at all the sea critters and birds.
Tomorrow, we are going making the long trip south to Queenstown to do eight days of tramping on three different trails. I will miss this wild little corner of the South Island. This is where we spent most of our time last year and somehow, we ended up here again. We really know it.
Lucas is chopping up peppers right now and I should go and help make dinner. We are having gnocci with mushrooms, peppers, garlic, shallots, and tomatoes. All my love, Lucas and Alex

Sunday, March 8, 2009

back in town

hello all,
Alex and I just rolled into town last night. First thing we did was shower, then get something to eat (pizza and beer), now checking email. Our hike ended up taking 9 days (I think, you kind of lose track of time). The hike was great. This corner of the country is really tropically feeling, lots of ferns and fern trees and just super green and palm trees and ferns growing out of the sides of trees, maybe how I would picture the northwest US (though I 've never been to the northwest US). The birds (robins and fantails) like to eat the flies that you stir up and any bugs unearthed by your footprints, so they will get within 2-3 feet of you and seem to be following you down the trail with you at times, it makes me feel like the birds aren't afraid of us, like we're friends. I like to imagine that's how the world used to be, when everyone had enough and we didn't have to be afraid of each other.

The trail was an adventure, our second day out had super heavy rains, numerous stream crossings (including one that was almost waist deep in a pool underneath this giant waterfall) and a saddle pass. Our boots were dripping wet the entire trip. We met lots of super cool people from all over the world, some out for a few days and others on a once-in-a-lifetime super vacation. Met a young Frenchman who was in the middle of a year-long vacation. We ate well, including some free food (one two different occasions) and some beers from a group of fishermen who had helicoptered in to fish trout in the local river.

Our next trip is sea kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park. We'll spend today doing laundry, buying groceries and taking care of the trip planning details, spend tomorrow night in the town near the trailhead and hit the the trail Wednesday.

We are doing well.

Alex sends her love