Sunday, April 26, 2009


We are certainly entering into Autumn in beautiful New Zealand. The air has a new crispness about it, the leaves are changing and the nights are downright chilly. I bought a wonderful down jacket last week. I've missed the last two years worth of Autumns, leaving for Antarctica in early October. This one feels extra special, I love the smell of Autumn, a smell I'd somehow forgotten about until last week.

Alex and I are in Christchurch. The weather is gorgeous outside, but we are both sitting in an internet cafe with a rather long list of computer tasks. It's quite depressing to be honest. We have additional issues to deal with for Peace Corp medical clearance, we're changing our plane tickets, planning the Australian leg of our honeymoon, checking email and such things.

Our last trip was by bicycle. We spent 4 days biking 150 kilometers of a former train rail line. The trail is quite popular and passes through a rather poor and rural section of NZ. The trail has virtually saved the tiny communities along the former train route. The scenery is lovely and picturesque, and with the Autumn colors was a real treat. It's a significantly dry area and the land is only good for grazing herds, mostly sheep, some cattle and deer. We enjoyed four days of calm, sunny, crispy autumn weather. There's something truly romantic about riding a bicycle side-by-side with the love of your life. I think that's why it's regularly in the movies as part of two people falling in love. It all makes sense now.

Alex and I fly to the North Island on the 1st of next month. We hear it's very different from the south island.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Hi everyone! We put some photos of our tramps on the blog. We put the pictures on the corresponding entries so you'll have to scroll back through to see them. Note that all the black spots on Lucas' shirt on the Rees-Dart track pictures are an awful biting fly known as the sandfly. We are convinced that the sandfly is the sole reason why the south island is still so wild and beautiful. I hope you enjoy!

I have never in my whole life experienced mud in this way. Eighty percent of the trail is mud (from ankle deep to over knee deep) and the other twenty percent is gorgeous beaches. Mud became a way of life from talking about it during and after the day's walk to scrubbing it off boots, rinsing out socks, and washing off what we could from our pants and shirts. Lucas and I would usually spend ten minutes in the nearest river getting the big bits off before we would go to the hut to tackle the smaller bits. Lucas' pants are still a new color and my shirt is tie-dyed with brown blotches!

This picture was taken right as the tide was going in on Mason's Bay. A beautiful wild of the many we walked through.

In many ways, this walk was an incredibly emotional one for me. The mud was hard, the track was exhausting as it had all these sharp hills and so so many roots. The weather was incredibly variable--in less than an hour we had hail and then the sun came out and it turned so hot and then it hailed again. We must have changed clothes at least four times...and then there were moments like these where the beauty of the landscape was unimaginable...To the right of this veiw, you could see the whole sand dune valley and it made the whole day worth it.

Lucas and I couldn't believe the ammount of people that came on this tramp! We thought we would be the only crazy fools that would undertake such a hike! This was our main crew: Three Germans ("team Germany") and two Canadians ("team Canada"). The picture above shows all of us in a four person bunk. We all ended up sleeping together because the hut was over-full. The night before, it was just the seven of us. The Germans made a fire and we all sat around drinking tea and drying out are clothes and boots. The night before that, we were all stuck in a hut with these JERKS for hunters that took over the whole hut and were boated in from the mainland with all their stuff.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Hello Everyone!
Thanks for the comments and the emails, it's always good to hear from you guys. We are alive and well after a demanding 12-day tramp through beaches, MUD and boulder gardens. We arrived in Dunedin last night and plan to spend a bit of time off the trail. We are both tired from the Stewart Island trip. We saw our first wild kiwi, a dead penguin, lots of hail, knee-deep mud and pretty beaches. We met lots of trail friends and ate a whole lot of rice and lentils. I think I've had enough powdered coconut milk to last me a few months....

We've got pictures to upload and lots of stories to share. However, first I need to find something to eat.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Stewart Island

We arrived on Stewart Island this afternoon to do a tramp we've been talking about since this time last year. The tramp takes the average hiker 10 days, we've packed 14 days worth of food. It's a classic hike. Most folks we talk to that have done the tramp say they are glad they did it but they would never do it again. The trail is said to be ankle-to-knee deep mud most of the way and the sandflies are heavy. The weather is calling for rain for the next 10 days, so it'll be interesting. We'll see...

We hitched a ride on a jet-boat to get across a major river crossing on our last hike. Funny!

No card reader to post pictures from this island, but soon..