jen yu: new zealand 2007 - day 7

new zealand 2007 - day 7

back to nz 2007
[ day 6 | day 8 ]
hike out, catlins, pounawea
march 24, 2007
read about the day
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The first ones to rise again, we were better prepared to leave without making much noise as we had packed our packs the night before. Looking out the window, I could see the marvelous display of the southern hemisphere night sky. It is so much prettier than the northern hemisphere skies. In the kithchen, Jeremy and I changed into our hiking clothes and scarfed down a few breakfast bars. As we secured our packs, I noticed the illumination in the east as the sun prepared to emerge over the horizon. The skies were clear and the color of the light was magical. Stepping outside of the hut, the air was much warmer than usual for morning. I looked up and saw a few of the trampers huddled on the deck, wrapped in their sleeping bags waiting to witness a glorious sunrise. I took a few pictures and then we were off down the track at 6:35.

The track ambled above bushline on the ridge for a few kilometers. In the distance, we could see tiny Te Anau, its street lights sparkling in the twilight like a small jewel on the shore of the lake. The sun broke the horizon just as we descended into the cover of the thick forest. Although this section dropped 1000 meters (3000 feet), it was definitely mellower than the climb out of Iris Burn. We passed the limestone bluffs and before we knew it, we arrived at Brod Bay where a boat shuttle had dropped off fresh looking hikers heading up to Luxmore. We still had 6 miles to the car from Brod Bay. At least the track flattened out. The last few miles were pretty torturous on our still tender feet, but we made it to the car by 11:00.

We changed into clean(er) cotton shorts and t-shirts, doused Jeremy's head with water, and slipped our stiff feet into our sandals before driving out to Milford Takeaways for an order of - you guessed it - fish and chips! We sat on grass of a park in Te Anau, eating our fill of calories until we could eat no more. From Te Anau, we drove to Invercargill and picked up groceries and gas and then set out for the eastern end of the Catlins along the southern coast of the South Island.

I made the unfortunate decision to book a campsite in Pounawea on the recommendation of my Lonely Planet guide. The campsite itself wasn't bad, but the facilities were in poor condition. Since we had a little time before sunset, we drove out to Nugget Point to catch the last rays of day on the coast. A bank of clouds beat us to the point, but we still enjoyed watching baby fur seals below the cliffs playing in the little pools of water. The name of the point comes from the rock outcrops off the coast that look like... nuggets. Across the ocean lies Antarctica.

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