Monday, February 09, 2009

Avalanche Peak (aka extremeley sore leg mountain)

This past Friday (Feb 6) was Waitangi Day in NZ (celebration of the signing of NZ's founding document: the Treaty of Waitangi) which meant... long weekend! Add that to my already long weekend (Hallelujah for having Mondays off), and you get a SUPER LONG WEEKEND FOR LOWELL AND JULIE!!

Lowell and I had every intention of taking full advantage of each SECOND I had off. On Thursday night, Lowell and I flew to meet Marc, Kylie, and Gus (affectionately referred to as "Gussy-goo") in Christchurch (on the South Island). I think it's worth mentioning that we flew via Quantas Air solely to advertise the fact that our evening airplane snack included FUDGESICLES and PIE (so maybe don't fly with QA if you are a dedicated Weight Watchers member).

While I curled up to have a snooze in the traveling bed (I cannot tell you how often we've been thankful for a vehicle with a bed), Marc drove. By midnight, we had arrived at our (rather rustic/unofficial) camping destination:

Prettier view than most campgrounds, but the toileting situation wasn't quite so convenient.

We rose with the sun on Saturday morning so we could head INTO Arthur's Pass (rather than sleeping directly outside it) and conquer the planned hike for the day: Avalanche Peak.

Before beginning the climb, we had brekky in a parking lot and had pity on a cute hobbling one-legged Kea bird (until it started eating the sealant off of Gus- then it was just an annoying hobbling one-legged Kea bird)...

And now for the hike. Look at Marc & Kylie at the beginning of the hike. Kylie's all relaxed, enthusiastic, and snap-happy. Her grump-o-meter was in the negatives. For now...

Lowell was also pretty excited:

(Jumping off of something was not an option at this point because that "something" would be a cliff.)

Elevation was gained very quickly on this hike, and the first "couples shot" opportunity presented itself within minutes.

This is Kylie saying "WHAT AM I??!"

(The answer she was looking for was apparently "a dinosaur". Sad, isn't it? hehe)

It was so cloudy outside that it appears as though Marc & Lowell are at the peak. HOWEVER, the ginormous cloud is covering the overwhelming steepness that was to come.

A lot of the trail was not so much a path as it was a giant cluster of ROCKS. I successfully completed a mini section of rock climbing and was really quite proud of myself...

Lowell had a little fun with a Kea bird (this one was extra special... it had TWO legs!).

And Marc had fun photographing Lowell with the lucky two-legged Kea bird...

Throughout the hike, the peach sticks were our life line. Follow the peach sticks. ALWAYS FOLLOW THE PEACH STICKS. Either that, or walk off the edge of the earth.

While beautiful, this hike was also slightly depressing because of all the deceiving "peaks". We kept thinking we were climbing the main peak, then we'd get to the top and notice that a cloud was mostly covering the next "peak".

Climbing fake peak number 1:

Fake peak number 6. This was particularly depressing as I really thought I HAD reached the very top (and Kylie's grump-o-meter was also on the rise (good thing she's fun even when "grumpy"))...

Marc & Kylie walking a ridge between fake peaks...

After 3 hours of continual INCLINE, we finally arrived at the real peak (I think) :

Unforunately, the view (which was reportedly several beautiful peaks, valleys, and glaciers) was virtually non-existent. Oh wait, we had a lovely view of a big ol' cloud.

We started eating our lunch on the very tippy top of the mount, but it got REALLY cold REALLY fast, so we soon vacated.

And then came the decline. The brutal brutal 3.5 hour decline.

The brutally COLD (to start) and mainly STEEP 3.5 hour decline...

Am I in pain? Am I excited? Am I sneezing? Am I being a goof? I couldn't tell you...

(To this, Lowell says, "This is what I wake up to every morning." Thanks dude. I love you too.)

What I like about the following picture is that Marc & Kylie aren't posing in front of a pile of rocks... they're posing ON THE TRAIL!!

Li'l resty rest on the way down...

Getting closer to the bottom...

Marc assessing the look/feel of a completely ridiculous mustache:

By the time we reached the bottom, I had never been so happy to see a road. My lips, in fact, carressed the glistening pavement with a gentle kiss, so happy was I to be reaquainted with it.

Kylie and I could barely walk for the remainder of the weekend as muscles we didn't know we had were threating to jump right out of our legs, but we still managed to dig up plenty of fun and adventure. Luging? Check. River Surfing? Check. Hot Tubbing? Check. Bungy Jumping? CHECKITY CHECK CHECK CHECK!!!

3 comments :

Bloggy Mama said...

This tale reminds me of the time we drove 4 hours to see the Grand Canyon and all we saw was fog! The Grand what, you say?

marcandorkylie said...

My legs are finally comletely 100% better, all it took was about a week! Australia is great so far, off to meet Marc for lunch, post looks great from my perspective. :) May I steal it?

marcandorkylie said...

Also. I would just like to clarify. I was not just being a dinosaur, I was imitating one of my students impersonating a pterodactyl. Much more obvious now that you know that!