Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Kepler: Round 2

I'm sure you remember my post about the Kepler Track I tramped at the beginning of spring break. Well, I tramped it again this past weekend! I had different company this time - I went with Philip, Tommy and Marie Claire. These are the three friends I'm traveling to Australia with, so I'm sure you will hear much more about them in the upcoming weeks.

(from left to right) Phil, Marie Claire and Tommy
I had my first final on Friday afternoon (anthropology), and then went home to prepare for the tramp. My friends decided on Kepler because it's relatively close to Queenstown, where we were dropping off another friend Sam (she did a Lord of the Rings tour on horseback!). It was quite a long drive, but luckily we were entertained the entire time by Phil and Tommy's beautiful karaoke. (There was even quite a passionate rendition of "A Thousand Miles," complete with air-piano!) This was just a short preview of what is to come during our 2-week Australian roadtrip!

We started the track fairly late in the day. The weather wasn't too pleasant, as it was raining. It wasn't bad until we got above the bushline, however, where there were no trees to protect us from the wind. At this higher altitude, the rain had turned to hail, so the 45 minute walk from the bushline to the hut was freezing, unpleasant, and seemed to last forever.

Luckily, there were other trampers at the hut who had started a fire a long time before we arrived, so we stepped into a cozy, warm hut at the top of the mountain. After changing out of our soaking clothes, we sat around the fire to warm up, and then ate dinner while hanging out in our sleeping bags. Tramping is very tiring, so everyone went to bed fairly early. We all laid down early, but then talked for quite some time about the hike, our upcoming trip to Australia, and many other things.

starting out the next morning (with Phil and MC)
We were the last group to wake up the next morning. The weather was much nicer than Saturday - it was sunny and relatively warm. After eating breakfast and reluctantly putting our still-damp clothes back on, we headed back down the mountain. We could finally see the view we had missed the day before, and even saw a rainbow! We couldn't do the entire track because the second day's walk has been impassable due to snow conditions for several weeks now. The walk down the mountain was pleasant (especially once the ibuprofen kicked in and took the pain out of my knee), and we had a relaxing lunch by Lake Te Anua.

lakeside scenery
Once we returned to the car, we drove back up to Queenstown to pick up Sam. We had to wait for a few hours, so Phil and I went to Fergburger while Tommy and Marie Claire went down to see the lake. It was an enjoyable day. The weather here changes so quickly, but I don't complain on the days when it is nice.

I have two finals in the next week or so, which means I'll be hitting the library every day. I have some adventures planned for after finals, though, and I can't wait!

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