5am jetlag ramblings
December 18, 2006
Apologies for the long silence. I’ve been in New Zealand, giving a paper at a conference and indulging in a spot of R&R.
It took me 5 flights and around 36 hours of travelling to get back from Queenstown to Heathrow, finally arriving back on Saturday morning. Jetlag-induced insomnia has now kicked in with a vengeance, and I’ve been wide awake since 2am. Instead of lying in bed cursing my inflexible body-clock I thought this would be a good chance to resurrect the Diaries with a few photos from the trip.
The corrugated-iron French Ridge Hut is 1400m up the side of Mount Aspiring, one of NZ’s highest peaks. Me and tramping-partner Lauren climbed up here with our 16kg backpacks, feeling mighty pleased with ourselves. On arrival, we met two Ozzies who’d just spent 18 hours climbing to the 3000m+ peak, surviving regular showers of ice blocks falling from the high bluffs leading to the summit. Put our little ramble into perspective.
The aptly-named ‘long-drop’ toilet at the hut is precariously perched on the side of the mountain. In New Zealand, even going to the bog is transformed into an extreme sport.
We survived in the bush on packet soups, freeze-dried ready meals, scroggin and porridge. At night, we dreamed of curry and beer.
The South Island is a land of nature in the raw. We walked for two days without meeting a soul to reach this glacial lake, the headwater for the Upper Wilkin valley. The thunder of distant avalanches provided the soundtrack for our approach to this giant bowl of rock and ice.
We took a swim, hiking boots and all, in the ‘Dissappearing Tarn’. Smelt a lot better after this.
I’d intended to get lots of thinking done out there, hoping to return with a clutch of dreams and schemes for 2007. I’m sure I came up with some sound ideas, although all I can remember now is a firm resolution to buy a bread bin. Sick of throwing away stale half-loaves.