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Archive for February 13th, 2008

Land of Hobbits

Routeburn falls to Howden

Welcome to the land of hobbits. As we ascend towards the gap in the mountain the weather was bright and sunny but we saw cotton clouds wisping through from the other side. As we crossed to the west we entered a new world of heavy fog and an amazing maritime temperate rain forest where Tolken’s fantasies are easily imagined. Below McKenzie hut we came upon a ~500ft water fall that cascaded down a fern wall, wow.

Upon arrival at the hut we found a group of 20-somethings, each quietly reading with hardly an acknowledgment that we walked in….maybe even a frown. After 30 minutes, the quiet reading hour was apparently over and the group went from completely engrossed in the gospels to running around the hut with much laughter and fanfare as they shot videos of each other, and planned a scavenger hunt in anticipation of the pending rain; the contrast was as striking as the landscape.

We may drop into Milford Sound, which is described as one of the natural wonders of the world, tomorrow for a Nero and a boat trip into the sound. It rains so much hear that the top several feet of water in the Tasman Sea are reported as being fresh water. This was hard to believe until John reflected on a past trip on the Routeburn where t rained 24 inches in 24 hours; yes 2 feet of rain. When I was stationed on Guam I saw rain like that….we called it Guaming….impressive.

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