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 went down to Queenstown for some ice and mixed climbing in the Remarkables. It was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends as well. We had some misty weather on the first day, but still had a fun day of climbing.
The next day we woke to a fantastically clear beautiful day. We plodded up the sides of the ski field to Queen's drive at the back of the remarkables. Our climb for the day was called 'Saturday morning special'. Quite appropriate for a Saturday morning! Our climb was three pitches, and we topped out with a fantastic view of the Southern alps.
It was a great weekend and it was a lot of fun climbing with a great group of people.
Back in New Zealand, 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!
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.
From Nevada I travelled up to New York. The summer weather in New York was just about perfect, around 21C. I didn't have a lot of time. I arrived in the evening and went for a stroll.
I made sure to go to the Metropolitan museum of art when I was there. It really is an amazing museum, next to Central park.
The Met museum has amazing collections of ancient art works.
Some of it was very old, from places like the 'cradle of civilization', Mesopotamia. I particularly liked the giant, intact pot (right) which was around 5000 years old. There was a fantastic collection of art from ancient Greece, Roman times, horse-men from Assyrian tombs, busts of ancient Greek philosophers.
There was also a great selection of more modern art, including a lot of post impressionist art works by Monet and Van Gogh.
Overall, it is a fantastic museum if you get a chance to travel to New York I recommend a visit.
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!
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.
I am a traveller from New Zealand. My blog is to inform friends and family about my adventures. I hope you enjoy it.