Northern Iceland!

anna

Remember me telling you all about the sixty-five plus year old woman whose camper van we stayed in? Her name was Anna and she was such a lovely woman. She and her dog Shnorty (I know I’m mangling that spelling) live in a small town and host visitors every evening. Her front yard was twinkling with tea lights when we arrived and she showed us the amenities before leaving to great her final guests for the night as they arrived.

The van was comfortable and reminded me a lot of ours in New Zealand. The biggest difference being, we were told this one, “doesn’t move.” Just in case we wanted to get crazy in the middle of the night. So I got to experience once more the fun of climbing over Marc to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night and trying not to wipe out on the very slippery lader. There were tons of horses hanging out in the front yard, but the little stallion made sure no one got any love from me.

Didn’t take us long to get our stuff together and hit the road again. It also wasn’t long before we were stopping for another gorgeous waterfall. Got a nice little hike in through a well-worn sheep trail to get a little closer to the falls and traded taking pictures with some of the other folks.

waterfallWe continued to drive on through a landscape that became less and less green and more and more rocky. The mountains resolved into individual volcanos and the grass finally disappeared completely.

volcanos

It Looked Like This

Every so often, we would see little pools of toxic looking water either off in the distance or next to the side of the road. We kept going as we were starving. The potato chip supply began to dwindle. Our destination for the night was a homestay in the second largest town in Iceland, Akureyri. Before we got there though, we had to stop at a hot spring  everybody had been telling us about. Myvatn Nature Baths  are unique because there is a sandy bottom and the water itself is full of beneficial minerals that leaves your skin feeling silky smooth. The water stays at a comfortable 96 to 104 degrees and they warn you to take off any brass or silver before you enter as the water will literally turn them black during a visit. These pools were so amazing for lounging around in and people watching. The cafe was rather nice too and it meant we could lay off the chips for a while.

myvatn2

myvatn

Aftermath. Do we look relaxed, or what?

Marc had to drag me out so we could leave, but getting changed presented its own challenges. Although we had the option of renting towels, we decided to rough it. How do you dry off without one? Easy, after the shower… you use a hairdryer mostly all over and use paper towels for the delicate bits. Worked out pretty good actually and soon we were back in our seats and on the way to Akureyri.

Our hosts Paulina and Samuel showed us our room inside their beautiful home. Everywhere we looked art works were on display and it didn’t take long for us to find out Paulina and her husband (whom we didn’t get a chance to meet) were artists. I took many pictures inside their home.

paintings

I also took many outside their home as Akureyri had cool stuff to see everywhere we looked. Paulina’a husband we were told, teaches art in town and there was an art exhibit going on during our visit.

1917

Cute Little House. Not Our Homestay Though.

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The Door of Akureyrarkirkja. A Prominent Lutheran Church.

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Paper Mache Monster from the art show

Our breakfast was included the next morning and it was neat to experience what an Icelander might normally have for breakfast. Of course, I always bring our own tea, but otherwise, we did as the locals do and enjoyed soft-boiled eggs, cucumbers, red pepper, oranges and banana’s and granola. Marc  even got to try a little of the local yogurt.

breakfast

Satiated, we did a little more poking about before we had to take off again. Just as well since Akureyri had more tourists and simply more of a sheer mass of people everywhere than any other place besides Reykjavik. After seeing the wild and wide expanses of nothing from the safety of our little car, being shuffled along with throngs of people palled quickly. Besides, we had another homestay lined up in Dalabyggo to get to. Off again we went!

end

This is how you know you’re leaving town… if it isn’t already obvious.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cunningham Falls, MD

ThePath CF

Path To The Falls

 

Last weekend was perfect weather for a tramp outdoors. Balmy, a bit of a breeze and mid 70’s  meant there was no way I was going to stay indoors. My girlfriend Jessica and I had made plans to go to Cunningham Falls State park and after a quick breakfast and an hours drive to Thurmont, Md (outside of Fredrick), we made it.

My Friend Jessica

My Friend Jessica

The sun was shining, the air was clean and the path was dry, although occasionally crowded with other hikers. The waterfall  itself (supposedly the longest in Maryland) is fed by Hunting Creek Lake and  features a catch and release trout stream for all you fishermen out there. I did not see any trout though. Just green, green trees, awesome old boulders and some of the oldest exposed greenstone rock outcroppings on the world. The park is part of the Catoctin Mountains which lie inside the Blue Ridge. A truly beautiful place.

Nice

TopofFalls

We took the slightly sloping path up the  end of the boardwalk and had a look around. Everywhere, folks were rock climbing to the top, or watching their children play downstream. What could we do? Of course we climbed to the top of the waterfall and found a place to sit in the sun. I think we both may have drifted for a bit, soothed by the sonorous sound of rushing water and soon leaning back against the rocks to soak up the heat. Occasionally awakened by enthusiastic children hiking past into the mysteries above the falls.

View From The Top

View From The Top

Ready To Swing Out Over The Rocks

Ready To Swing Out Over The Rocks

All too soon it was time to go. We were meeting a friend for a BBQ dinner and didn’t want to be late. It was good to catch up with my friends and  eat some massive grilled steaks with all the fix-in’s. I got to cook too, which was an experience. I seemed to have the smoke following me around every time I opened the grill… oh, and then there was the part where we had to rinse off all the vegetables and our friend Denny’s steak cause the grill  cover slipped out of my hand and flakes of black stuff got all over everything. They forgave me though and it turned out to be a great dinner.

JessicaFalls

 

Taupo to Rotorua

 It Cought Our Eyes

It Caught Our Eyes

We headed inland after Napier, intent on checking out the warmer climate in Taupo and Rotorua.  More specifically, the many hot springs and geothermal areas operating there. Our introduction was  Tarawera Springs. This is a hot springs spot with a couple of old tubs in the side of the mountain. There used to be more till the landslide covered a couple more. The site is behind a gate and plenty of signs try to warn you off. The story we heard was someone tried to make a go of the place commercially over a hundred years ago but the locals wouldn’t allow it.  The DOC would like to get rid of it but they can’t because it’s considered  historic. So now it’s just a private, picturesque spot for those in the know. The water was a bit too cold for us though.

Tarawera Springs Source

Tarawera Springs Source

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Jim and Marie. Owners of The Tarawera Cafe. Go See Em For A Bite and Some History

Jim and Marie. Owners of The Tarawera Cafe. Go See Em For A Bite and Some History

Just down the road was the Waipunga Waterfall. So we stopped for a look.

WaipungaFalls

WaipungaFalls

After  a rather bizarre overnight at the National Equestrian Center which we spent  camped across from the power plant with huge clouds of steam billowing from the ground, we hit four cool spots in one day. Aratiatia Rapids used to be all natural, now there is a dam that is opened three times a day to the delight of tourists and the occasional local. What an awesome spectacle.

It Goes From This...

It Goes From This…

To This In About Ten Minutes

To This In About Ten Minutes

Continuing on, we hit up Craters of the Moon next. This is a geothermal walking path along a wooden walkway that takes you past craters, fumaroles and boiling mud pits. It’s kind of wild to be walking along and suddenly be enveloped in a cloud of sulphurous steam and actually hear steam hissing from vents in the ground. What’s even more amazing is that none of this was here before 1950 or so.

Craters1

Craters2

We met fellow NZMCA members Alan and Yumi on our way in to the park. Later, Alan rescued my sunglasses when they fell into a hole.

We met fellow NZMCA members Alan and Yumi on our way in to the park. Later, Alan rescued my sunglasses when they fell into a hole.

Huka Falls was another amazing stop that day. These falls guide the Waikato river into the damned lake behind Aratiatia Rapids. The noise is deafening and the energy  amazing as enough water to fill five Olympic sized swimming pools  flows over the falls every second.

Heading For The Falls

Heading For The Falls

View From Further Back

View From Further Back

Just before the sun set we found our next  to last destination. Spa Park Hot Springs is a natural hot springs in a neighborhood of Taupo. Really neat to walk through a park like the one in my moms backyard, go over a bridge and look down to see people enjoying the warm  water. If it had been a little earlier, I might have had a really good time!

Four diffierent nationalities in the pool.

Four different nationalities in the pool.

We ended up with a good soak that night anyway as Marc drove us to Waikite Valley Thermal Pools for the night. I think they have one of THE best deals going for folks in camper vans. Pay the price for parking up and entrance to the pools are free. They also have a check out time of noon which means you can even soak after breakfast. I think we closed them down that night. We left at quarter till and we were the last two out. They also had a nice little eco tour we took the next day that educates folks on where the water comes from, neat geological formations and how it gets to the pools. Marc and I both would love to come here again.

Overview of the spa. You can just see the steps they use to cool the water before it gets to the pools in the lower left hand corner.

Overview of the spa. You can just see the steps they use to cool the water before it gets to the pools in the lower left hand corner.

Waikite3

Waikite2

New day, new wonders. We pushed onwards towards Rotorua and a meeting with new friends. Along the way though we did stop to check out the mud pools. The mud makes the most disgustingly amusing sounds as it bursts from the watery mud and the smell of sulphur is strong. I think our guide Scott Cook had a happy hour here. I wish we could have but it was too early that day. Maybe for movie night?

 Mid Splatter!

Mid Splatter!

We had one more stop to make before returning to civilization again. The Cook book has an entry for a hot water waterfall the location for which is a secret. Scott says he doesn’t want to see it overrun by tourists so he wrote a little poem with clues inside for those stubborn enough to try to solve it. It wasn’t easy, but we did find it. For anyone else reading that book and wanting to follow the clues, I can tell you the pine trees are dead but still standing. Unfortunately, we didn’t bring towels or suits, but we did bring a sense of adventure. What a blast!

Ok, We've Got To Go In

Ok, We’ve Got To Go In

WFClothes

We headed into Rotorua after that. Our friend Debs in Auckland had given us the info for some friends of hers in Rotorua and told us to look them up. We arrived a bit disheveled from our afternoon to their house and just squeezed down their drive in the camper van. They turned out to be an amazing couple and I’ll like to  tell you more about them next post. In the meantime, the rain has stopped and I hope everyone is having a great evening!

More On The Return To Auckland

Dr Suess Tree

Dr Suess Tree

Time seems to have sped up lately as we continue to get closer to our leave date for Bali. As I write this, its June 16th here and we leave on the 19th at an ungodly early hour. We sold the camper van last week and it went smooth as silk. I think we both kept thinking it was going far too easily, but I’m not going to question it anymore. We’re both feeling it’s loss, but I think at this point that’s just compounded by last get togethers with friends here as well. Luckily, we will be coming back for ten days or so after Bali so there is still that to look forward to. I’m going to try to fill y’all in on the rest of the trip back to Auckland before we go. Lets see how far I can get today.

He Climbed All The Way To The Top

He Climbed All The Way To The Top

After looking in the Cook book, Marc drove to Deliverance Cove and Castle Point. On the map, it’s located straight east of Masterton on the coast. This is where we each got a free dermabrasion treatment courtesy of the wind  that intensified during our tramp up Castle Rock. I stuck to the trail, but Marc was more adventurous and struck out for the top of the rock. He made it too and got some scary pictures over the side. Once he returned, we fought our way over to the lighthouse. The wind was fierce by that time and we had to literally  hold onto the fence to keep from being blown to Africa! Great views though and in the lee it was awesome to see the wind literally lifting the sea and blowing it into little water spouts. Very cool.

Over The Edge. View From The Top of Castle Rock

Over The Edge. View From The Top of Castle Rock

Deliverance Cove next to Castle Rock

Deliverance Cove next to Castle Rock

Made It!

Made It!

Stopped by a graveyard while we were killing time looking for a place to camp for the night. *Face Palm*Groan* We’ve done that several times to check out the stones and read the dates. It was a very peaceful place with beautiful old graves  on the side of the mountain with only one opportunistic horse for a neigh…bor. All animals in this country have me pegged as an easy mark. I gave this one our last carrot.

Hey! How Ya Going?

Hey! How Ya Going?

Childsgrave2

Childsgrave

I LIke The Sentiment

I LIke The Sentiment

We kept heading north and our next scenic spot was Waihi Falls in Tararua. A long drive down a metal road ended with a short tramp along  a ridge to get to the falls. It was stunning! Even more amazing, we were the only ones there! If we’d had more time and it had been warmer, this would have definitely been a place to go for a skinny dip and  overnight.

WaihiFallsCara.e

WaihiFallsMarc

Don't You Want To Go For A Swim?

Don’t You Want To Go For A Swim?

The next spot was just a stop for a quick photo and some lunch. Taumatawhakatangihangakauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukopokaiwhenuakitanatahu holds the record for the longest place-name in the world. The name has something to do with a Maori chief grieving for the loss of his brother after they fought to get through the area.

Try and say it. I dare you.

Try and say it. I dare you.

Sometimes, even our camp sites were way scenic. On the way to Napier, we stayed at an apple orchard. Dick, the owner took me around and showed me NZ Splendor apples which can’t be bought in stores because they bruise too easily during shipping. Boy, were they good. An emigrant from the Netherlands, he  was such a nice, salt of the earth  guy. He showed me what a sugar core looks like in an apple. This is when liquid sugar collects in the center of an apple. Makes it that much sweeter.

Dick Eating Apples

Dick Eating Apples

A Little Fall Colour

A Little Fall Colour

I had been wanting to check out Napier since first hearing about all the art deco buildings there. You see, there was an earthquake in Napier in 1931 that basically destroyed most of the city. Art Deco was popular at the time and as a result the city was rebuilt in that style. We spent one full day and part of the next wandering about town looking at all the buildings and enjoying the ambiance. Dinner that night was fabulous too. If you’re ever in Napier I highly recommend  Milk and Honey.

Napier1

Napier3

I Got Some Great Vintage Patterns From Penelope at Charleston Chic

I Got Some Great Vintage Patterns From Penelope at Charleston Chic

Pania of The Reef

Pania of The Reef

NapierFountain

You Should See The Glass Dome Inside

You Should See The Glass Dome Inside

I think I’m going to end this post here today as our focus shifted after Napier. We headed for Taupo and Rotorua for the geothermal action next so that’s where I will start the next post. All, hot and steamy as it were. In the meantime, hope you enjoyed the pictures and hope the weather is not as rainy wherever you are  as it is here today. Cheers!

On the way back to Auckland….

Marina.e

Been a few weeks since I’ve had time to write, hasn’t it? I know I finished all the south island sights while we were waiting to pick up our passports from the Indonesian embassy. We didn’t just hang around while we were waiting for them though. Instead, we took off and explored the area with a side trip to the marina to find a dump station. Unfortunately, that ones been closed so we continued on looking for tramps and viewpoints. Quite by accident, we found a great mountain bike park .Looked massive and with an experience range for everyone. Crossing the highway, we found what we were looking for. Nice little tramp that overlooked the Wellington harbor.

WellieHarbour.e

Had a nice little drive along SH2 and the Rimutaka Ranges to get to the Rimutaka Forest Park. What a twisty road and just wide enough for two vehicles. It can get scary passing a doubled semi on the road. Especially with a sheer drop off along one side. Marc did an excellent job of keeping us alive and in one piece. The tramp itself was a little slice of heaven. The five-mile ridge loop led us through a stream and through a more jungle/ bush setting that really made us aware we were back on the north island.

We met Pat and Denise early on. Denise is 85.Isn't she stylish?

We met Pat and Denise early on. Denise is 85.Isn’t she stylish?

Natural Staircase

Natural Staircase

Rimutakamush.e

We took off for the Cape Palliser lighthouse next. It’s situated near the southernmost bit of the north island and has a beautifully scenic,occasionally bumpy and slightly scary coast road. We had lunch near a seal colony on a rocky outcropping before tackling the lighthouse. There are now 254 steps and I’m happy to say we both made it, but not without a rest or two.

Ngawi Bulldozers

Ngawi Bulldozers

Coming back, the tide was high and spray would dowse the road.

Coming back, the tide was high and spray would douse the road.

CapePallisarSeal.e

CapePallisarLH.e

CapePallidarLH2.e

We were going to do the Putangirua Pinnacles next, but it was getting dark and we noticed the DOC park right next door had fire pits. We had the firewood gathered and camp set right as darkness fell. Our third campfire began soon afterwards. I didn’t stay up for the whole thing, but I understand the rains started about three a.m. We did make an effort to make the tramp the next morning, but with howling winds and rain falling intermittently, it was a wash.

Super Delux Hermit Hut

Super Delux Hermit Hut

Offerings to Posiden

Offerings to Posiden

Putangirua Pinnacles

Putangirua Pinnacles

PutangiruaPinnacles2.e

Yes, we burned it all.

Yes, we burned it all.

PuangiruaFire2.e

We headed north after that, looking for further adventures and the Waiohine Gorge swing bridge. I think that’s where I will end this post as we saw so many neat things along the way and I’ve got some great pictures to share. Finally got to experience a road closure due to a sheep drive too. Got some great video to share once we get home too. Think y’all might be up for a movie night?

Waiohine Gorge Swingbridge

Waiohine Gorge Swing Bridge

WaiohineGorgeSB2.e

Chasing Rainbows

Chasing Rainbows

CutOuts.e

SheepDrive.e

From Church to The Shakedown Clowns @ Arthurs Pass

Scenic Lookout Along Arthur's Pass. Rock Shelter and Waterfall Shute Above The Road.

Scenic Lookout Along Arthur’s Pass. Rock Shelter and Waterfall Shute Above The Road.

The last time I ended the blog post  with a dip in the hot springs. I won’t end this post with more pictures though we  did  find more hot springs  about two weeks later.Man did we put some miles on the camper van before then. Here’s a story of some of them  while we ride the ferry back to Wellington.

We got lucky when we managed to pass the Church of the Good Shepherd during the day. We’d thought we’d passed it in the dark on the way to Lake Tekapo. Actually, we passed it on the way out of town. This small church erected in 1935 was intended to show the glory of God and as a memorial to the pioneers of Mackenzie County. Quite beautiful, eh?

Church of the Good Shephard

Church of the Good Shepherd

Church2.e

This statue, a tribute to the working dog, stands near the church.

This statue, a tribute to the working dog, stands near the church.

Next stop was Christchurch, known by the abbreviation ChCh. We stayed with this lovely women who first really tuned us into how bad the earthquake three years ago really was. She has several people camped in her yard in caravans as it’s really hard for single people to find affordable housing still. As well, the goat Crystal is also a refugee. Maureen adopted the Angora goat as a kid when her original owners had to move after the quake.

Maureen & Chrystal

Maureen & Crystal

Further exploration of ChCh led us to a new friend I had  originally met in Auckland; and her partner. Unfortunately they were both in various stages of recovery from a respiratory bug. I think that actually works as a metaphor for Christchurch as well. It’s in recovery. Streets have changed or been blocked off, buildings await either demolition or reformation, and the people here endure. We didn’t do much here due to bad weather, difficulties traversing the streets and a sick day. We did manage to drive out to Summit Hill though and took a look at Godly Head Reserve. Beautiful up there, but we needed to move on.

ChCHConstruction

Many Buildings Still Await Repairs

Many Buildings Still Await Repairs

Marc surprised me wanting to do the other two passes but I’m glad he did. We headed towards Arthur’s pass first and stopped at Castle Hill. Part of Narnia was filmed here among these limestone rocks. It was like an amazing adult playground to us. We tramped around and through the stones for a while taking amazing pictures and marveling at the weird shapes. Almost hard to believe this wasn’t made by Hollywood.We loved it.

Can You See Me?

Can You See Me?

Castlehill3.e

Further up the pass the same day Marc spotted some Keas! They were hanging out by Deaths Corner and as we were quick to discover, skilled at shaking down tourists for treats. As soon as I opened the door I had four of ’em hop/running towards me. They really liked grapes but didn’t know what to do with the rye crisps. This belies the whole “Polly want a cracker” thing. These alpine parrots want grapes, though pineapple isn’t rejected either as we found out later. They were awesome!

Hey! We got a live one here!

Hey! We got a live one here!

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The Viaduct at Arthurs Pass.

The Otira Viaduct at Arthur’s Pass. Opened in 1999, this was built to replace a stretch of unstable ground. An amazing engineering feat.

We plugged in at the Otira Hotel that night. Marc remembered them from a Google Earth search he had done back in the states and shared with me. We had marveled at how anyone could live here with so little around. It was a wild night, the wind whipping through the pass and the occasional train passing down the tracks. Like so many places we’ve passed, the hotel is for sale, though I think it takes a special breed to run a hotel in the winter when the tourist trade winds down. Lonely there.

OtiraHotel

We ended up going back to Deaths Corner to try to find the Keas again. They were out doing Kea things so instead Marc risked his life above the viaduct. It was another windy day and he had just bought a new cap at the Otira hotel which the wind whipped away fifteen minutes later. Luckily he managed to retrieve it without becoming a casualty himself.

Viaduct2.e

On a rescue mission.

On a rescue mission.

In all this we  didn’t manage another tramp until the Devils Punchbowl outside of Arthur’s Pass. The tramp itself isn’t too far, but as it’s to a waterfall there are a bunch of steps before you get to the viewing platform. It was great though. Lush greenery, with snow-capped mountain peaks in the distance and hanging moss on the trees. Reminded me of a rainforest. We climbed past the platform and while I stayed a bit further away from the bowl, Marc climbed right down to it for some incredible pictures.

On the track to the falls.

On the track to the falls.

View From The Platform

View From The Platform

Can you see Marc?

Can you see Marc?

The same day we tramped a bit of Scotts Track which is across the way from Devils Punchbowl. This track was really cool and if you do it all, it takes you all the way up to Avalanche Peake. After the morning tramp though, we didn’t feel the need for a further four hours of climbing. We were happy  to  climb for another hour or so until we could see the town of Arthur’s Pass below us and across from us Devils Punchbowl falls and a little further distant; Bridal Veil Falls. The track was all exposed rock and gravel and it seemed to almost be almost dry stream bed. Really cool.

Scotts Track. The Begining.

Scotts Track. The beginning.

Looking down on the village of Arthurs Pass.

Looking down on the village of Arthur’s Pass.

I’m gonna close this with a few more pictures of the Keas. We did get to see the crew one more time and  in sunlight no less. We’re back on the north island now and waiting on the Indonesian Embassy for our  next visas. It’s supposed to rain most of the rest of this week so hopefully I can catch you up on Lewis Pass to Kaikoura fairly soon. In the meantime…….. Keas!

KeasBright2 KeasBright.e

Towards Milford Sound

MSWFall

The journey to Milford Sound was mostly one of pleasure, with a little pain on my part due to a slip and fall I had close to our destination. As I write this 11 days afterwards, my leg is still a bit sore and I’ve just started sleeping on my left side again. For those who are interested, or have a morbid curiosity I am going to post a picture of the bruise taken five days after at the end of the post. For those who’d rather not, no worries. You won’t have to look. I’m just kinda proud of my tramping wound.

The Remarkables

The Remarkables

Have you heard about The Remarkables? Marc had been wanting to see them and we finally got the chance on our way to Milford Sound. They are an unbroken wall of mountains that marches North to South  outside Queenstown. While the washboard road and the steepness of the climb slowed us down, we still found a great little lookout about 4 meters up the track and another about 6 up that has a path leading to an awesome 360 degree view. Wow. The floating mountains  in the distance were incredible!

Holding Onto My Hat!

Holding Onto My Hat!

Floating Mountians

Floating Mountians

The Lake Marian track was a sweet as place to stop and stretch our legs for a short tramp. Between the beautifully lush ferns, mossy trees, swing bridge and class five rapids pulling us onward it was just amazing. Even better, it was a ten minute walk each way.

Lake Marion1

Lake Marion2.e

Lake Marion Trek Swing Bridge

Lake Marion Trek Swing Bridge

We stayed at two of the DOC campgrounds outside of Milford Sound. It was actually the first spot we’ve found since we’ve been traveling where we could build a fire at night under the stars. Most everywhere there are bans so it was really nice to enjoy a fire and maybe a little cognac too.We had to make do as we were out of marshmallows.

Reflected In The Fires Glow

Reflected In The Fires Glow

 

Warming The Cognac

Warming The Cognac

Our first attempt to get to Milford Sound fell short as we got distracted. We arrived at the Homer Tunnel and parked with the idea of just walking up the path towards the waterfall a short way before continuing on. Instead we saw this huge stone “house” looking jumble in the field and left the path to investigate. It was pretty easy to walk all over the stones in our sandals and we continued up the rock strewn field in the hopes of finding the path again. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the path but as the rock hopping was so much fun and we were getting closer to the waterfall and snow cave at the base, we went on. After reaching the snow cave, I was going to turn back while Marc went on. In the end though, I went up the right side of the snow field and stood atop the cave while he went up the left side and got closer to the falls. The way back is where things got a little tough. I’ve learned, its much easier to climb up than it is to climb down. I’d say I was about halfway back to the rock house when I slipped on some loose shale and fell….on a rock. All I could think about at first was whether I’d broken it. Immediately the back of my thigh was twice it’s size and it felt really bad. I just didn’t want to be the subject of an “Alpine Rescue” episode. It was slow going, but I did make it out in one piece. There’s a picture at the end of what it looked like five days later.

HomerTunnelRocks1

Rock Strewn Valley

Rock Strewn Valley

Ice Cave and Waterfall @ The Homer Tunnel

Ice Cave and Waterfall @ The Homer Tunnel

Our second attempt to navigate The Homer Tunnel was successful although I moved slow for about six days afterwards. The first stop on the West side of the tunnel was The Chasm. The Cleddau River gets pinched through deep rocks studded with holes and drops dramatically as it thunders under your feet. Very cool, but TONS of tourists.

The Begining Of The Chasm

The Begining Of The Chasm

Further Along

Further Along

Milford Sound itself was quite dramatic.It seems that most people tend to do a cruise or a flight around the Sound, but we wanted the Foreshore Walk. It wasn’t long, but it was pretty and had the advantageous property of showing us where all the driftwood was piled up. This is important when you’re scrounging wood for a fire. Ironically  though, it ended up being so windy that evening we enjoyed the fire from inside our camper while marveling at the amount of people trying to fit into The Lake Gun DOC site. My recommendation would be Cascade Creek. Much bigger campground and fewer people trying to shoehorn in.

Milford Sound w/ Mitre Peake to the Left

Milford Sound w/ Mitre Peake to the Left

MilfordSound2.e

 

Lake Gun After the Hordes Have Gone

Lake Gun After the Hordes Have Gone

We headed South after that.Towards Invercargill and Bluff before turning towards the Catlans, but that’s another story and where I will pick up next time on Chasing Summer!

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake

Ok, ready for the injury shot? Right! Here it is then. I’m so glad I didn’t break it.

5DaysAfter.e