2003
03.11

Having now reached the South Island of New Zealand, I am completely in awe.  This is one of the most fantastic places I have ever imagined, filled with so many incredible natural wonders.  It is sometimes difficult to believe that all this could beauty could exist in such a small place.  Around every corner are new wonderful surprises that fill me with such appreciation for the world in which we exist.  It is somewhat like a natural theme park packed with some of the most thrilling rides and scenic views that one could ever imagine.  I sometimes find myself standing frozen with my eyes surveying the surrounding mountains, my jaw dropped and my senses tingling as I try and take in all the beauty that surrounds me.  And I’ve only been here a week.

Upon first arriving in Christchurch, John and I rented a campervan that came with most everything you would need for a road trip- two single beds, stove, toaster oven, water jug, and even a light for those rare occasions when we have access to electricity.  We set out headed north in our groovy little van soaking up the gorgeous sunshine and continuing with our marathon beach frisbee sessions.

After sampling a bit of the South Island beach scene we headed inland for Arthur’s Pass, my first taste of the real mountains.  It was such an exhilarating feeling climbing from sea level at Christchurch through open prairie lands and then beginning to ascend the mountains watching the peaks grow all around us.  As snow-capped summits began to show and the mountains took on a more fierce appearance, my soul screamed in approval.  This is what I had traveled halfway around the world to see.

John and I found a nice trail near Arthur’s Pass and began a seemingly never-ending climb towards Temple Basin.  My adrenaline began to rush watching the mountains grow as we climbed higher up the trail.  By the time we arrived at Temple Basin ski area our view had grown to dynamic proportions.  Peaks dotted the horizon and waterfalls spilled down mountainsides.  Our energy was just pumping and though we had reached the end of the trail,  we began to bushwhack towards the highest summits. Our climb continued longer than either of us expected but the rewards were immeasurable.  Before long we had nearly reached the summit ridge and the views were beginning to extend over the mountains that had dominated the horizon.

We came to a glacial pond that lie in the most picturesque settings, its crystal blue waters highlighted against a backdrop of jagged peaks.  This may have been our climax had John not suggested that we climb to the ridge.  Though the climb was steep and the rock very loose, we ignored the dangers and climbed further.  Luckily, the route was safe and after just a hop, skip and a jump we were standing on the ridgeline with panoramic views of Arthur’s Pass and far beyond.  It was breathtaking.  The sky was a brilliant blue and we were able to see even the furthest mountains.  It seemed we could see forever.  My heart was beating furiously knowing all that was to come on this South Island journey.

2 comments so far

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  1. You make me want to go there, too! Sounds so beautiful.

  2. Full body plunge in a glacial pool? BRRRRR…