Friday, 21 December 2012

Mount Cook, New Zealand

The entry into Mount Cook national park wasn't anything special - mainly because of the low, drizzle-dropping clouds.We past a glacial lake, which is supposed to be bluer than blue, but today was just blue (the coach drivers words not mine). Arriving at the YHA there was nothing to be seen around, and the rain was relentless so after a brisk walk about I retreated to the common room and did some reading. The hostel resembles an alpine chalet - and makes me think about dusting the snowboard off. I pop a few emails home to friends to see if any plans are afoot. There's a sauna - I've always wanted to like saunas but feel like I'm going to die. I can sit for about 2 minutes before gasping for cool air. It mocked me every time I walked past! 

Next morning I'm up at sunrise and out. The weather had cleared and the surrounding mountains were super-epic! The sun was scorching a hole in my head within two minutes, I had to break out the hat. I'd make a cheese sandwich and bought some peanut bars, and also stocked up with water. There's a nice walk up to the glacier face (or as close as you can get) called the Hooker trail. It reminded me of the trek up to Everest a lot - with cute bridges and rough scree-like terrain. It takes about 2 hours to get there. On arrival I was amazed to see an iceberg - I've never seen an iceberg before. It's was just there, sitting in the lake, looking kinda stuck on the bottom. I wonder how common they are. The other walk is called the red tarn, or tarn... I  forget. This walk's steep up, with some nice views. I would say the most scenic part of this whole area is on the glacial plains though - with the flowering lupins and the soft blowing grass you would be happy to lay in the grass and never wake up again :)

I wanted to do a stargazing tour, and the YHA had a poster with a 10% discount. They called for me but the company said the offer had been retracted. They had one space left on the tour and I asked If I could get that for the 10% off price - they said no. I decided to go solo and wondered off onto the plain. The stars pop out of the sky from everywhere - billions and billions! I didn't had a release or tripod to get the absolute best shots but here's my efforts;

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