Damn. I need a bath…
Well, I’m just stopping in to Queenstown to fill up my pack with food and then I’m heading back out to Glenorchy. They have a little corner supermarket with nothing for a backpacker to eat while hiking so I had to hitch hike 50k’s to go to the supermarket then hitch back. I just got done hiking the Caples track, taking a day to visit the Milford Sound and then hiking the Routeburn track. They were pretty incredible and the scenery was absolutely spectacular. They say it rains about 300 days out of the year here and I managed to spend 6 days without a drop of rain (after a day of hiking in the rain though).
The other day I had perhaps one of the best days of the trip so far and I have labeled it the “Perfect Day”. It went kind of like this: I woke up in this valley I had been camping in surrounded by huge mountains with snow frosted tips. The sun had finally come out which was a relief after a day of rain the day before. The beads of dew on my tent had frozen and as I put it away, the ice shattered in a million places in the grass beside me. I put away my tent, ate breakfast, then hiked an hour to the road where I stood in the cold waiting for someone to feel sorry for me and pick me up. My destination? Milford Sound. Take a look on the net to see what it is, but it’s basically a big curvy cove from the Tasman Sea formed by glaciers with awesome waterfalls and incredibly beautiful mountains. Finally some people from New York picked me up and and we headed to Milford. I arrived just in time to catch the 11:00AM boat trip around the sound (which entailed a 15 dollar discount) and drank all the free tea I could. From there, I hitchhiked back to the spot I was in the morning, took a cool 2 hour hike on a side route to the top of this mountain, then hiked back to my same campsite the night before. I made a fire, made dinner and spent the evening staring up at the stars. The Milky Way was splashed across the sky like a cloud and I was the only person for miles. Incredible. Perfect.
This country is really beautiful and I am meeting a lot of people. I met a really cool couple my age the other day on the track and instead of sleeping in our tents one night on the Routeburn, we sneaked into this resort cabin that no one is allowed into except those on guided walks. There was no one in it and they left it unlocked so we slept in the beds and woke up at 5:30AM to sneak out so we wouldn’t be caught. About 8:00AM we were awoken by a helicopter dropping off supplies and a person to that cabin. Close call, no?! It was pretty incredible. In the middle of nowhere they had a cabin with hot water, showers, heat, electricity, tons of alcohol (they left the kitchen open too, although we didn’t take anything except cookies in the jar) and a pretty cozy set of dorm rooms. It sure beat freezing in the tent.
So yeah, I’m going out for another 9 days or so. I’ve got my pack loaded with food as I type this and am going to do the Rees-Dart trek which is 6 days of hiking up to these cool glaciers and then back towards Milford via the Greenstone Valley track so I can go down to Te Anau and do the Kepler track. I bought a hut pass for 65 bucks so I don’t have to lug my tent around and get to stay in the huts with fireplaces and stuff, so hopefully I won’t freeze too bad.
Wish me luck!