This blog is about my travels. At home in New Zealand, in other parts of Oceania, North, Central and South America and in Europe.
I headed back through the Mojave desert. It is a beautiful landscape, dotted with Joshua trees. It is so dry, and different to anything we get in New Zealand, but beautiful in its own way.
The next day I headed out towards Sequoia National park. The drive there was picturesque, the landscape had started to become more and more agricultural, there were rows of fruit and nut trees and fruit stalls on the way.
Sequoia national park is a popular place. It was very hot and dry, but a lot less hot than the day before. I drove into the park and travelled up the winding road towards the big trees. It was a beautiful day and I stopped off at some of the scenic look outs on the way.
It took a while to find a park, but eventually I did. There were so many people there. I think they did a good job of managing the visitors and keeping things tidy though.
After finding a park, I wandered around the park for a few hours. It is very well set out with good walking paths and informational displays.
As well as these trees being enormous giants, the forest also smells amazing. The forest smells of pine, and underneath the trees there are a whole lot of beautiful wildflowers. It's a pretty cool place!
There is a shuttle service that takes park visitors up to see General Sherman which is the largest tree on earth. They work it out based on overall size, so the girth of the tree as well as its height.
The Sequoia trees in the park are up to 2700 years old. They have some cross cuts of fallen old trees, and its strange to think that these trees were ancient during the middle ages, and still really old when, say, Cleopatra was ruler of Eygpt.
Sequoia National park is an amazing place, and I can definitely recommend a visit if you are visiting California.
I decided that I wanted to see Sequoia National park, and so I figured the most practical way of doing this was by the most american form of transit, the road trip. My starting point was Las Vegas, and I headed through the Mojave desert which to get there.
It was incredibly hot when I landed, 127 degrees F, (52.7 C). I stocked up on water which I stored in the car before I left and drove out into the desert.
It was mighty hot, even though it was the afternoon. It was still hot in the evening and after it got dark. I had the air conditioning on high the whole time. I stopped off at a classic 1950's american style diner on the way. There wasn't anything vegetarian for me to eat, but it was still cool to see a classic amercian diner.
It was deepest darkest (windiest) winter in Wellington, so it was good timing for using up several weeks of leave and head off to America, where it was brightest sunniest summer. The flight was pretty cool, the flight path went over the Grand Canyon!
My friend Alex and I headed off for a trip up Mt. Ruapehu. We got up really early for our climb, earlier than anyone else heading up the summit ridge that day as it turned out. We walked up from the Whakapapa car park, and stopped briefly at the warm shelters for the lift operators. As we headed up to the summit ridge the sun started to rise and we got an amazing sunrise and view of our surroundings. We could see Taranaki in the distance, and I have never seen it so clear. We were the first people up on the summit plateau that day.
We climbed up to just below Te Atuaa on the summit ridge. We took a few more photos and headed back down. We saw the first few other people popping up towards the summit. As we headed down we got fantastic views of Ngaruhoe and Tongariro, and it turned into a pretty hot day!
Winter snow had just started falling and so I headed up for the NZAC ice climbing meet. Unfortunately it was still a bit early in the season and so there wasn't tons of ice. My friend Helen and I went up there, and were doing quite a lot of work for the fantastic Tukino Alpine club lodge, so that took up a bit of time. We got out for a walk in the snow though, up towards Whangehu hut, a great little alpine hut that isn't that well known about.
The Tararuas tramping club was running a Jumbo/Powell trip so I decided to sign up. The weather forecast was a bit iffy for that weekend, but we still decided to go. One of the benefits of this trip is that it is easy to turn back if the weather looks bad, and the exposed section over the tops is relatively short. We headed out on Saturday morning. We got to Atiwhakatu hut by lunchtime, and headed off through the beech trees. Just as we popped out of the bushline, we reached Jumbo hut.
The next day, we headed off over the tops towards Mt. Holdworth, and then towards Powell hut. It was reasonably and windy and cloudy, but we got to the top of Holdworth peak, and shortly afterwards, the clouds parted, giving us a great view of the rest of the Tararuas and the sea.
A group of us headed up from Wellington to Mt Taranaki for a weekend trip. We stayed at Tahurangi lodge on Saturday night, its a great lodge for headed up by the usual North ridge route on Taranaki. It was a bit cloudy, but other than that the weather was nice, and it was predicted to be a bit nicer the next day.
The next day we were up nice and early and headed out of the lodge after dark. We were one of the earliest groups out, but it wasn't long before more other people were on the track as well. The track on Taranaki now has numbered poles which are great for working out how far there is to go when you are heading up. We got to the top at about lunch, and then headed down to the lodge again for afternoon, and then back to the car. It was a great trip.
Just outside of Wellington is Pukerua Bay. It is a rocky beach on the West Coast that overlooks Kapiti Island, and when it is clear, the South Island. A group of us headed out there on a Sunday morning for some climbing. It is still a fun place to climb, the sea was nearby and there were a whole lot of bright red jellyfish washed ashore. As the morning went on the tide started coming in further so we headed back, and at some points had to time crossing the beach to avoid the waves.
The Eastern side of Mt Ruapehu is a great place to go rock climbing in summer. There are a whole lot of trad climbing routes, and the place to stay there is the fantastic Tukino alpine club lodge. I headed up for the NZAC annual rock meet.
The first day we were there the weather was really pretty bad. Undeterred, we went for a walk, but it really wasn't that great so we made our way back to the lodge. The alpine club had done an awesome job on the catering, so we ate well, drank a lot of cups of tea and helped out around the lodge.
The next day we woke to fantastic weather. We set off from the lodge and started climbing. Helen and I actually managed to get in an (unplanned) first ascent (we recorded details in the lodge first ascents book). It was an interesting route!
The next day the weather was even better again so we headed off a little further this time, not that it was a very long walk either. Tukino is such a great place to climb, the Tukino lodge is amazing, and there are a whole lot of very uncrowded crags to choose from.
I am a traveller from New Zealand. My blog is to inform friends and family about my adventures. I hope you enjoy it.