Friday, April 10, 2009

Sheep and Volcanoes

After taking the ferry from the South Island to the North we were able to spend about 4days in our favorite NZ city, Wellington.  Luckily, Dana had been in Wellington a couple of times and had met a really great guy named Derick.  He was amazing and let us crash at his house for our time.  This turned out super well because his house is literally on the edge of down town.  We were able to stay up later than the sun, and cruise around the house until we were ready to leave for the day.  It was just really nice to be stationary for a few days.  The highlight of Wellington (other than sleeping inside) was between having our hair-cut and seeing the colossal squid.  I know this doesn’t sound super exciting, but Wellington rocks! 

After Wellington, Dana decided to hop on a cheap ticket and head to Fiji for her last week before home.  So, it has been Ash and I exploring the North Island solo, well duo.  We started our voyage on the Surf highway, camping with the wild cattle on the sand dunes, and from there we headed interior toward the North Island’s volcanoes.  Generally when we head to a new spot we use the “Let’s GO Book” Kort gave for directions.  This has been very reliable and definitely gets us from point A to point B.  On our journey to the volcanoes Ash saw on the map a more direct road.  Once we were on this road we realized why we hadn’t heard much about it.  It was a one lane, winding, dirt road, with many bumps and potholes.  My prayer driving this was for our tires to hold out and for no other drivers to come in the opposite direction.  We decided about half way down the road to take a break at a scenic waterfall.  This turned out to be a great stop because we ended up camping there.  We decided it would be fine, because we didn’t see a no camping sign and there was a picnic table.  We were slightly worried though, because we were obviously camping in a pasture with sheep.  If you remember we have had some issues with shepherds and sheep in the past.  No worries this time though.  We arose quite early the next morning to head to the North Island’s coolest walk, volcanoes.

Ash and I decided to take a day hike to “Emerald Lakes” but soon got distracted by a volcano peak.  Instead of hiking to the lakes we hiked up the volcano peak.  This was by far the most ill thought out plan, but neither of us were prepared to admit this to each other and just headed up.  About ¼ the way up the mountain we realized what we were in for.  For every step taken up we would slide about ½ backward.  ½ way up the mountain Ash and I were quite aggressive and began swearing at the rocks.  One of the most impressing things was as we were going up people were running down.  Now I don’t really care if they run, but as they were running huge boulders were following and preceding their paths.  A few times we had to will rocks to stop before they hit us, quite scary actually. Once again we were fine and not injured don’t worry Mom.  When we summited we quickly forgot how scary the last couple hours were as we stared into the crater of the volcano.  Seriously cool.

We arrived in Auckland a couple of days ago to sell our car before we fly home.  We opted to splurge and stay at a hostel for our time in the city.  Now don’t think too crazy, we have rented a space for a tent cite only (we’re still sleeping under the stars).  Since being in Auckland we have realized a couple of things about camping for months at a time.  We are allowed to use the hostel facilities including showers, couches, internet, and kitchen; but we have not yet utilized all of these comforts.  We seem to be more comfortable staying outside bundled up instead of being cozy inside.  We eat outside, change outside, pack our bags outside, sleep outside, and last night we even watched a movie on my laptop outside.  Funny how things change.  

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