Monday, May 7, 2012

Tonight we will dream of escalators. -Erin Sellman

SO while I should be writing either the essay on the Borrowers for my english class or the research paper for my Ecology class, I'm going to tell you about my weekend instead.

Friday after classes Jackie, Erin and I went to the store to get the food for our adventure and then I had frisbee game. The Honey Badgers didn't come out on top, but i'd say we played pretty well. As our fearless leader for the week said, "we're right on the edge of…..greatness"! haha (translation: we should be able to break the zone that they keep throwing on us soon.) So since we didn't win on the field, classic frisbee dictates that we must to go the pub and win the party. It wasn't much of a party, but there were definitely more of us at the pub then the other team, so I consider it a solid W. What's really important here people?!  Post frisbee shenanigans, I ended up at The Foundary (pub on campus) with Rebecca and some of our other friends. Needless to say, I didn't get to bed very early, and 6:30 came REAL quick. But like a champ, I drank some water and was outside ready to roll at 5 til 7. It was a 4 hour car ride down to Mt. Cook National park in the vehicle we all hold near and dear to our heart that I named Crandle (yet I consistently refer to it as a she…. it's a confused soul) Our friend Jake owns the car and let us rent it for the weekend which was SO nice of him! Anyways, he gets from A to B, but there is ZERO power steering, acceleration requires a solid 5 second delay before she starts roaring,  and those breaks are a real treat to get used to. Once we arrived in the little village of Mt. Cook, we bought our hut tickets and got the run down from the i-site lady before we ventured off. It was here that I learned I would be ascending to 1800m by the end of the day. It started off with a 15 minute flat hike to the split off. Then it was whats referred to as Sealy Tarns. To my knowledge, it's Sealy Range that Mt. Olivier and Mt. Cook are in, and the ridge line we went up is Sealy Tarns. This special ridge is composed of 1800 steps to start ya off because it's too steep to walk up regularly. As you might imagine, I was sucking some SERIOUS wind. if 1800 doesn't do anything for you, i'll spell it out. one thousand eight hundred steps. STAIRMASTER: redefined. so yes I was feeling the burn, but every time I stopped for a break (which was often) I was re-energized by the absurd view that surrounded me. I was also motivated by the fact that my gluteus maximus HAD to be benefiting from this activity. it's the little things right?
About half way up (at the end of the stairs), we stopped for lunch. We were SO lucky that we had such good weather. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and all of us were tramping in shorts and either short sleeves or rolled up long ones. I'll confess that I did start the tramp in leggings, but about 2 "stair cases" in, I pulled over and de-clothed. don't ask how I managed this one. The next part of the hike was mostly dry, but pretty steep and covered with rocks of all shapes and sizes to climb up, over, around etc. This section of the track (and the rest) were follow the orange markers, so there isn't necessarily a path. Its just… find your way. Sometimes you can see where others have gone before you which helps, but there's certainly some trial and error involved. I definitely was presented with sections where I was climbing with all 4s up these rocks with my pack on. Nothing too extreme, but definitely a little more than I'd anticipated. The next section was a snowy version of what we just finished; some climbing over rocks, some trudging through snow all in the same direction, up! This part I was really glad to have the gators that one of my friends, Emma, let me borrow. They keep snow from getting on your socks and into your boots. really nice! When we reached the top, all the sweating and hard work we just did was ALL forgotten and we were overjoyed at the feast our eyes were enjoying. I took a classic go frogs picture that can be seen of F-book. The last part of the hike was fairly "flat". It was snow covered big rocks that you climb over/ walk through. It was on the back side of the ridge where you could see another range that made a sort of bowl between the two. I try to think of words that describe what I was experiencing, but it's really hard. Spectacular takes a whack at it. After a while on the rocks we came around a "corner" (big rock) and the hut came into sight. Beautiful red Muller hut really popped in the white snow. When we arrived, we reported to the hut warden and settled into our bunk rooms. Hut wardens are volunteers for DOC that hike up to these larger huts and stay out there for a week or so to keep everything going. It's a pretty cool deal if you've got the time and would like a quiet week in the mountains. Shortly after arrival (~4:00), we started on dinner. Jackie and Meg were the chefs that prepared a fantastic fajita feast complete with rice and beans, yummy seasoned chicken, avocado, and papers and onions. We even carted salsa up there! While they prepared the food, I slithered off to watch the sunset out on the ridge. Again, its one of those times that is hard to describe because I was just completely and incandescently happy. I think what I love about tramping is that for the 30 hour period, your concerns include: don't fall off the mountain, don't miss any version of this insane view, where should I take my next step, don't slip, what am I eating for dinner, don't slip and don't slip. Sorta silly, but my point is that I get such a high from scaling life back to focusing on the necessities and truly 'being' wherever I am. All that to say, the sunset was incredible. Shortly after I headed in to eat and play cards with the sweet girls I was with. By 7:30, I was crashing hard, though I managed to stay awake until almost 8:45 because I became captivated by the night. The moon was so bright and the snow was so white that there was enough light for my camera to pick up the mountains, stars, and my friends of course. It was really fun playing around with my camera. I'm learning a lot about it. This pictures honestly look like daytime with stars. It's pretty cool! My favorite part of the evening was standing in the quite and listening to the avalanches in that big bowl I described earlier. I'm not sure i'll ever experience anything quite like it. Shortly after that, I really did crash. I stuck my ear plugs in and was gone to the world for nearly 11 hours. At 10 til 7, I rolled over and decided it was time to go watch the sun rise (my timing was impeccable). I bundled up and headed out to the ridge again. Same as the sunset, it was amazing! to watch the light make its way onto all of creation is really special to experience. The colors were great! How can you go wrong with glacial lakes, Mt. Cook among several others, and a huge valley? Anyways, I got some cool pictures, and then by the time I came in breakfast was ready! We had chocolate pancakes that were DELICIOUS! After some wandering around, clean up and packing, we started back down the hill. The snowy part that was pretty tricky coming up was 10 times harder coming down. Even before we started down the steep part most of us had fallen at least once. The snow was good and slick especially where the rocks shaded big areas. I forgot to mention how beautiful the snow was that morning. It seriously looked magical. Walking along the top of Mt. Olivier with Mt. Cook in sight, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed! So the downhill part that looked like ski slope with giant rocks all over it was a REAL treat. Some of us tested out some different techniques. The intentional slide has to have been my favorite to watch. Michelle mastered this one quite nicely…….. ok not at all, it worked for a while (10 seconds), and then she hit some deep snow and took a nice tumble right into it! I'm sure it was not fun, but it was quite comical to watch. We stopped again at the stop of the stairs for lunch/ snack. All of us were feeling really accomplished and really happy to see defined stairs. There is not decision to be made, it's just one step after another. About 3 quarters of the way down, I did get pretty bored of them. If I stopped and rocked up on my toes a little bit, my legs would just QUIVER like a scared child. I was not sore when I woke up in the morning and my legs didn't hurt, but clearly they were fatigued. At the bottom of the stairs, it became difficult to walk normally. We found that if there was any incline, it was easier to assume a light canter than control actual steps. After loading in the cars we stopped to tell the visitors center we had survived and headed back to CHCH. I had the pleasure of driving Crandle all the way home, and I must say that it was really pleasant. I was completely lost in my thoughts and busy admiring the scenery. At Lake Tekapo we stopped for gas and some of the girls grabbed a bite to eat. The remaining 3 hours was a great drive. Erin and Marisa were with me, and we found ample things to talk about. :) As soon as I got back to CHCH, I changed my clothes and headed over to have dinner with my friend Jeremy and a guy from church who invited us. [if you're paying attention, you just cringed with disgust at the fact that I went into someones home after wearing the same clothes for two days, hiking up and down a mountain, and 8 hours in the car…. that's right. please, cringe away because I also went to church like that following dinner… yikes.]  ANYWAYS. It was the perfect sermon to end my weekend. He started an 8 week series on the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Reflecting on how awesome creation is was pretty easy for me. I spent the last 30 hours imerssed in some of the most beautiful places i've ever been.
I can honestly say, that I was not sore when I woke up at the hut or even last night when I got back, BUT this morning when I became conscious, my legs felt 10 times heavier. Progressively throughout the day, the soreness has set in. Stairs are the enemy at this point. Even 2 or three require serious effort to not make grimacing facial expressions. As I walked to the bus stop this evening, I felt like an action figure being played with by a wreckless 7 year old boy who creams my legs into the ground with each step entirely uncontrolled. I can only hope tomorrow will be better or else ultimate practice is going to be a serious struggle. This coming weekend i'm doing a service project with the Student Volunteer Army, and of course playing lots of frisbee. I'll update next week!

No comments:

Post a Comment