Monday, April 26, 2010

Trapped In Te Anu

Yeauuuup. Two updates in like 2 days?! What?! What must be going on that is so interesting. Well not really anything but lots.

Shit has hit the fan for Captain Nate America and the rebel forces. Its pissing rain, and today the car decided it would be good time to die. So yup, halfway between Queenstown and Te Anu on our way to the Milford Sounds, the last squirt of petrol went in the engine, totally frying the nanomodulater and annihilated the exterior defribulator. Now she won't go...bummer.

Pushed it across the road in to a grassy nook, packed our packs and hitched a ride to Te Anu. So here we are at the gateway to the Fiordlands, cold and very wet, kinda wondering what the eff to do. We are getting her towed to a dump tomorrow i think, but this this whole scenario is getting pretttty pricey for us. Oh well, life goes on.

Because of the rain the road to Milford sound is closed because of flooding and landslides, and will be for a few days. That means no Routeburn track even if we could find away to get there(we loose our money too!). Good news is we pushed our kayak trip back, so we can figure out the car and go when it is sunny out. We are still gonna try hitch/bus Stewart Island, but then I definitely need to find work right afterwards as my funds are going to running slim, and I need to recharge for Australia.
Enjoy the backlog of pictures and the car folly!

Update: Alright so the phone lines, cell towers and Internet is out today and I wasn't able to post the blog. Crashed while talking to father Maier...sorry dad! It is still raining, and now the road that we came in on is closed as well, so we actually can't physically go anywhere. Hopefully we will be able to get to our car and get it towed tomorrow.

Hmm lets see its been a wild day. I have probably watched over a hundred music videos. Reminiscing about the glory days at 3 Prospect dancing around in the living room like idiots while saying boosh. I also ate a pie and accidentally turned my loafers into toast next to the heater. Also thinking about sewing up the holes in my jeans. So yeah pretty productive day! The pie shop was run by a really cool lady that reminds me so much of Sue who I worked for in Picton. If you read this Sue, I found you a long lost relative in Te Anu.

Being honest, I'm pretty bored and mildly frustrated right now. Everything is closing early in town and there is not too much to do when it is pouring rain. But yeah on the plus side its pretty nice being at least dry and warm (we decided to leave the tents in the car). I'm also reading a book right now called the Bone Man of Binares, its pretty rad. Its kinda a diary of a traveller in the 70's, who is touring southeast asia and india. India just made my next tick list for travel.

Thinking alot about what I want to do when I get home. Currently, I wanna move somewhere cheap in the city, and become a famous geologist/bike messenger. Who knows though. Last month I wanted to buy a boat and sail it across the Atlantic. Last week I was going to build a house in the mountains with Jay. I'm starting to realize that there are alot of things that I could do that would make me really happy, the possibilities are adding up. Maybe I don't really know what I want to do, but I know where I want to live. Nowhere really feels like home like the east coast, I miss it man. Nothing is like it.

Update 2: Bridges out in both directions, trapped in Te Anu for at least 3 days. Going to the main attraction in town tomorrow, the trout observatory. This is starting to cost us alot of money.
Fox Glacierness

Morning Hike Somewhere

I stayed up till like 2 in the morning feeding the kittens that were trying to jump into the car. Surprising right?

The best part of my morning

We won the rap battle so they couldn't hitch hike on our turf

No car...whatever

Flood time

Why not

Friday, April 23, 2010

Slightly hung over for the first time in awhile.

So here we Queenstown, just sitting here pondering life and my almost obsessive use of ellipse. One might think this is quite dull in the adventure capital of the world, but nothing is quite adventurous as delving into ones own mind!

Alright, well seriously, we can't afford to jump out of a plane or blow anything up but we can afford to get drunk one time(we really haven't drank since we left picton). So Queenstown, the party capital of New Zealand, has been treating us very well. It is a bit rainy today, which has almost been nice pause to file tax returns and make some travel plans.

Last time I wrote we were in Christchurch for the blues and is the jist of what has been going on since then:

We drove back toward the West Coast via Aurther's Pass. Stopped along the way for a few days to do a bit of bouldering in the land of Castle Hill, and lived in a poorly equipped shack for exactly one night. Cave Stream. We then proceeded onward back to the West Coast, and ended up in Greymouth. Did a brewery tour, and then shortly afterwards visited the pancake rocks. Made knives from hot steel in barrytown. Drove south, saw some glaciers, while simultaneously braking down a whole bunch. Travelled to Haast, were we got the grim news that our car has a very terminal sickness, but cheered ourselves up by sleeping in beds and taking showers. Journeyed through Mt. Aspiring National Park on our way to Wanaka and Queenstown. Went to Arrowtown, felt very homish and atumnal, while taking in a talent contest for ill-advised eightyear olds. Now we are back in Queenstown.

That is the somewhat patchy version of what we have been up to. We are in good spirits and are currently staying in a hostel with beds. As much as I love sleeping in a tent every night, which I might add I really do, it is nice to be indoors and clean. Tomorrow we are back on the road, and heading towards Milford Sounds were we are going to do a twilight kayak of the sounds, and then do a short track called the Routeburn. Hopefully then we will plunge down to Stewart Island if our car allows us and do a bit of trekking there as well.

The car problem is interesting. I feel like having two really pitiful cars has taught me so much as too what makes these little machines run. Heres the problem, in laymans terms for all you non-mechanics out there. We have a cracked head, which is leaking exhaust fumes into the radiator. That intern pressurises the radiator and spits out all the coolant and water. Because of this the car overheats like mad. Solution? We have to carry around gallons and gallons of water with to constantly refill the radiator. Its currently losing about a liter of water per 10k which is almost kind of impressive. But it still moves, and even though the engine will keep getting worse and eventually lose all its compression, it will get around for now.

Alrighty, last but certainly not least a meeting of epic proportions. Come June 1st I will be reunited with my brother Sean Marshall in Australia, who I have not seen since we were separated and taken from mother wolf at birth. I am so excited to connect physically with someone from home, especially sean, instead of through electronics.
Basically, its gonna be the raddest ten day surf trip known to man.
I am so excited.

Thanks for reading the ramble, miss you all lots!
Much love
Castle Hill

Sunrise circa Castle Hill

We found this really sweet we used it.

Cave Stream

The pancake rocks are so much more interesting after a brewery tour

Boys and knifes are like McChickens and Frenchfries

Along with making knifes, Stevens house had a gigantic swing, minature ponies, ax throwing and a parrot. This is the swing.

Gorilla Mist

Terminus end of a very large glacier

Hospital for cars

Inside a tree

Mt. Hooker Campsite


Did, we indulge just a little bit in Queenstown? yueeaaappp

Old-timey folk in Arrowtown

Saturday, April 10, 2010

If Hamish ever asks you if you want to go eel hunting...just say no.

Hello hello. Well its been quite some time...well rather months since I've attempted to write about our journeys so here it goes, much of it in abbreviated form. Autumn in NZ is now apon us and we have been on the road for almost three weeks since leaving o'le Picton. Life couldn't be better.

A typical day goes as follows:

We get up around sunrise. Eat. Discuss. Drive, stop and explore. Find camp. Eat. Sleep.
While tramping life is even simpler because the track ahead is already laid out.

We have no worries living a rather simplistic life, and in all honesty, if something is bothersome we tend just not to do it. Beyond the obvious experiences of traveling; exploring, seeing, meeting ect. there is an added bonus in the cadence in our livestyle. Our live's are basically dictated by the day. We wake up around sunrise, and go to sleep an hour or so after dark. There is never in a rush, there's always time for reading, exploring and stopping. We are also all in pretty darn good shape. Hiking, climbing and surfing, and unfortunatly along with a severly reduced calorie diet has made us pretty darn trim (not to say im proud or anything...but i fit into a size small pant!). Its actually quite the healthy lifestyle.The only drawback is that we are easily sidetracked. When we left Picton, I would have assumed we would have been at Stewart Island already, but we havent even made it to the southern alps yet. I also definatly haven't been as cleanly as even I would like. Hot showers are hard to come by, but theres always a stream to rinse up in. But thats ok, we have done so much and so little since we left, it couldnt be better.

A little run down of things we have done so far in short (pictures will better describe this). We left Picton and to say goodbye to the sounds we explored their far reached by travelling and hanging aroudn the French Pass and the Tennyson Inlet. Booked the Abel Tasman great walk...also strangely known as the AT, and hiked for 7 days taking the inland track back to our car instead of the ferry. Hung out and ran some errands in Nelson (a.k.a. stuffing our faces with BK), and headed of to Golden Bay and the Fairwell spit. Spent a very relaxing few days camping in the middle of nowhere on the beach, then checked out a hippy climbing commune, and headed for the west coast town of Westport.

Currently, we are camping somewhere in between Lewis Pass and the east coast bound for Christchurch. Just finished dinner, rice and carrots, and just came to the alarming conclusion that my sleeping pad has a hole in it. We actually wern't even planning to go to Christchuch untill two days ago, the same day I might add where we drove four hours to finally get to the West coast. We woke up planning to go to Barrytown to forge knives(killer), found out there was a folk festivile in C-church, packed our belongings, and started driving right back across the country to get their. We have made it work out so we can stop at castle hill (best climbing in the world) on the way back to the west coast and still make knives on next friday. This is pretty much how we have been travelling so far we just do the do.We have seen so many amazing little pockets of NZ that we never would have come across if we weren't doing things on a whim.

At the time we left, Picton was slowing on down. Friends were leaving and the ussually busy town in the summer was burning out. I enjoyed my last weeks building an ice cream shop from the ground up, but my ambitions trancend the profession scooper world. (side note: there was also a roving gang of teenagers in town that were trying to beat me up) So with the love affair with Picton slowly coming to a halt we just needed to leave and get on with what we are really here to do, travel.

Thats pretty much the extent of my existance right now. We still have some major priorities for the trip. Stewart Island and Milford Sound are at the top of the list, but right now we just are really enjoying the crisp autumn air on the road. Starting to really get sometime to think about what I want to do when I get back...which is nice.

I heard things are going better back home. Mainly less snow and more sun, which is always good. I NJ actually quite abit and am pretty jealous I missed out on the Montclair Wilco concert.

I hope everybody had a splendid easter, I miss you all! I hope this gives a sorta broad perspective of whats been happening for the past month or so, I'll try to actually update more frequently so I won't have to generalize things so much. Thanks for reading!

Edit: We made it to the festival. Really liking Christchurch. Saw a bunch of amazing folk blues bands. Jazz on tap for tommorrow!

Last morning surf at Robin Hood Bay


Tennyson Inlet

Pack Dolphins

Eel Hunting with Hamish...Never again

French Pass

Kurtismo Clownbaby's Face with a hint of Cable Bay



Abel Tasman Morning

Huddled away on the AT



Seriously good Folk band called The Eastern...Check them out

Lots of driving...but we made it

Lewis Pass NP

Radiant looking Jay

Sunrise at the hut on the inland track

Somewhere circa the Fairwell Spit

Campish things

Never too much B&W right?