Monday February 28, 2011
One of my friends, Beth, works for the National Library and since they merged with the Department of Internal Affairs, they decided to organise a trip to do the Tongariro Crossing. On Friday night, five of us crammed into my little car and made our way north to National Park via a stop at the Mediterranean Food Warehouse in Paraparaumu for a pizza dinner. We eventually arrived around 11.30pm and I promptly facebedded.
Saturday morning started at the unearthly hour of 5.30am, which I didn't know existed. As we got to the mountain, first light began to break and the clouds reflected a magnificent golden hue that illuminated the path ahead of us.
The walk was easy to begin with, but we were greeted with a tough uphill, then a plateau, then another uphill that brought us to the peak of the track - the Red Crater. All this while we were shrouded in cloud and a chilly alpine gust made conditions uncomfortable but tolerable. Visibility was poor so there was not much sight-seeing but we did see the Blue Lake. It would have been just around noon when we arrived at the Ketetahi Hut. With Beth and Julie lagging behind, we decided to have lunch and take a nap. It was another 90 minutes to the carpark and that was it - the Tongariro Crossing conquered in 6 hours.
I'd met a girl called Claire from DIA on the bus over, and she introduced me to her friends Matt, Mike and Rose who Jono, Holly and I were walking most of the track with. I was glad to find out that Mike also worked in the private sector - quite a minority both on this trip and in Wellington. We all hit it off immediately and after the tramp, we celebrated with plenty of vodka, gin and cider while chillaxing in the spa pool. As the night went on, the joviality turned to rapturous song that only alcohol could fuel. We were so good, we started getting requests from the other visitors at the lodge! ¬.¬
Sunday was a nice easy drive back to Wellington, via the giant Ohakune carrot, the Taihape gumboot, the Otaki factory outlets and a quick ice cream at Pauatahanui.
Awesome weekend was awesome.
Tuesday February 22, 2011
It just doesn't end, does it? Christchurch was hit by a 6.3 earthquake just before 1pm today. The city, still reeling from a 7.1 quake only in September of last year, could not withstand another as buildings came crashing down. This earthquake was centered a mere 10km from the city center, and worse at a depth of only 5km, making devastation much worse.
It's horrible to sit here and watch the news with reports of injury and death; as it stands the death toll is currently 65 but is slated to dramatically increase as people are pulled from rubble and debris. I can only hope and pray for the safety of Christchurch and its people as they come to terms with their losses.
The country mourns with you and we are thinking of you all in this terrible time.