Friday, March 16, 2007

Able Tasman and NZ Departure

To Able Tasman National Park, Scottie and I went. Camped in a campground for $4 - a nice spot on the water. It was a pleasant night until the rain started, which I had feared it would. My sleeping bag was in a bivi sack, so it held the rain out for a bit. But somehow in my confused sleepy state, the side zipper got left open while I was messing with the sack's mesh screen. So I woke up at 5 am a little wet. At 5:45, I tossed in the towel, got up and studied my sign language dictionary until it was light enough to move on in the rain.

Drove to the Able Tasman area, and then ran into the park for about an hour and 15 minutes. I figured running was the best way to see as much of the park as possible in a short amount of time. The bays and water and islands were beautiful. More tropical than Stewart Island was. I ran on and on, hoping to get around the next ridge for another view, but soon it was time to turn around. Then back I went taking some pictures as I went.

Back to Nelson for the night, and then I made my way towards Christchurch, picking up my friend Ragnar along the way. The weather was quite different going over Lewis Pass. Luckily, Scottie was up to the challenge and we persevered.

Back to Christchurch for a few days of rest and relaxation with Ice friends who were also about to head on. Went back to the Antarctica exhibit near the gardens. It was very interesting to look upon all the artifacts and pictures and displays knowing I had been where all these expeditions were trying to go. Then a little walk around the botanical gardens. So beautiful. I loved the trees, so well taken care of. Finally found my favorite tree.

It was strange to be in Christchurch, about to leave. Christchurch seemed to be where it all began. Fall was coming and the cool breeze and the leaves changing color reminded me that it is a time of change. I love the trees, so nice to have my hand on a living plant.

New Zealand was amazing. Wonderful people (especially John and Jill!), spectacular sights, and now this past month makes wonderful memories. Australia is next to visit my cousin Jamie and his wife Caroline.

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