Around the South

Trip Start Aug 24, 2004
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Trip End May 09, 2005


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Saturday, April 9, 2005

Hello again. I never remember when I last updated, but I think it was before my birthday. My birthday was like most, average. I'm not a big birthday person anyway. I have since left the orchard to finish up on the South Island. A few more people ended up moving on to the orchard just before I left though. Nimrod and Hila from Israel, Beth(poody), Katie, and Anna from Wellington, and Leon and his bus load of family, pets, and possessions from Australia (I think). All of these people made the orchard a bit more lively, however, the work was still crap (bad season, not really controllable) so I decided to get going.

On Monday the 4th, Mike, Oli and I headed out to Kaiteriteri when we heard there wouldn't be any work. I wanted to see Split Apple Rock so insted of the beach, we headed a bit beyond Kaiteri and not quite to Marahau. After a short walk we made it to a beach and there was the great SPLIT APPLE ROCK! haha. It's really nothing amazing, but I liked it. I decided to swim out while Mike and Oli had their fun with my cameras. I approached the closest side of the rock and noticed that everything was encrusted with oysters and mussels. Instead of investigating the other sides I plowed on ahead. Dumb idea. In the water you don't feel cuts very well. I stepped on these rocks and ripped my hands and feet to pieces. One cut in the palm of my hand was noticeably cut and bleeding everywhere. At this point I decided to flail like a wounded seal, just to see if I could attract a bunch of large sharks. ha, Actually I made it to the actual split apple rock and found that there was a passge underneath it, partially under water. After I explored the rock, I headed back and checked out a couple of caves on the side of the beach (but out in the water). Over all it was fun, but I could've done it without cutting my hands and feet up. That night I decided I was done at the orchard.

Wednesday the 6th I headed out to Nelson. After grabbing my mail I headed West via Lewis Pass. I stopped out at Cape Foulwind, took a few pics, and moved on. I ended up in Greymouth for the night staying in the upper part of a bar. One free Monteith's with the bed. Not a bad deal.

On Thursday I headed toward the glaciers which I bipassed the first time I came up the West Coast. I gave Dor and Yoni a ride down also. Both of these guys were Israeli and just hitching around the country. Since Israelis have mandatory military service, most do their two years, save up money, and then travel. On the way to the glaciers we stopped in Pukekura - Population 2. Check out this website: http://www.pukekura.co.nz/
With a giant sand fly hanging from the building and phrases like "Eat a possum, Save a tree", how could I not stop? I saved two trees myself. It's interesting that in Australia the possum is endangered while in New Zealand they're trying to wipe them out completely. The possum is extremely harmful for the native forest and I wouldn't mind seeing them wiped out. They're a pest. Anyway...after failing to convince the Israelis to eat possum, we headed out to the glaciers. We settled on doing a guided walk of Franz Josef. When we found out we were too late for that, we just went to the glacier anyway. There is a certain point where everything is roped off and DOC has basically posted warnings that say you're proceeding at your own risk. So Yoni and I followed a guided walk up to the ice. Without crampons and other equipment we didn't go on to the ice, but still had a good climb up to the glacier.

After the glaciers, I dropped the guys off and headed back to Hokitika. I just didn't feel like staying down by the glaciers. The West Coast weather is quite annoying to me so I wanted to see it and get out asap. In Hokitika I met two Americans (doubling the amount I've seen in the past 2 months or so). One was a cool guy, the other was that guy that gives Americans a bad name. He finished his bottle of Beefeater and just started talking nonsense and waking other people in the hostel up. I went to bed late, but apparently the police were called at about 3AM. Smooth one Tucker from Vermont! ha.

Yesterday I headed out to do Arthur's Pass. I had been looking forward to this drive because of all of the positive things I've heard about it. Of course it had to be cloudy and raining. I wanted to do the Temple Basin walk to see all of the peaks in the area, but DOC said the clouds wouldn't be low enough. They did show me a track called The Beasely Spur Track which had nice views of the rivers and mountains. When I heard the words "Free hut", my plans were settled. I drove out to the bottom of the track and hastily threw things out of my pack and into it. I ended up forgetting my contact solution, but I brought a bit of food and warm clothing, so I'd be ok. I tramped for two hours up the mountain and finally found the hut. I was soaking wet and cold (up a couple thousand meters). I failed twice to make a fire, but the third attempt was successful. I probably wouldn't have been too happy if I hadn't gotten a fire going. It rained all night and I woke up this morning to find it clear and beautiful outside. What I missed in the fog and rain the night before was easily seen along the path on the way down.

After my descent, I drove to Christchurch and got a bed...and here I am. It's been a pretty uneventful day, but the last few have been quite good despite the rain. I think I might be here for two nights and then off to the North Island. I'm really having major music withdrawls. It's not pretty driving. We're talking AM radio folks. I suppose I'll live. hehe. Until later,
Ka Kite
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