Friday, July 29, 2011

16,000 miles to home: part 1 (NZ)

Mt. Ngauruhoe summit. IN THE CLOUDS!

Auckland Sky Tower
   After plotting out my trip back across the world months ago I was able to explore some fascinating places, many of which I couldn't even comment on because it would give away the surprise that I was in fact coming to town the weekend of July 4th as a surprise. While away, I was so fortunate to visit some pretty colorful sights and enjoy the sounds of some interesting personalities. All in all, I traveled from Perth, Western Australia to Auckland New Zealand, to San Francisco, California. My time in New Zealand and California consisted of nearly one month of not working and bumming around mostly, a rather eye opening experience as a back packer.

   My friend Glenn (aka G$) traveled all around the South Island of New Zealand, complete with stops at the Rotorua thermal pools, Lake Taupo (IM NZ site), and the Tongariro Crossing. Most of the time it was overcast while visiting and it got pretty old honestly. One of the coolest things we were able to do was to Summit Mount Ngauruhoe on the Tongariro Crossing, which was one of the most difficult things I have ever encountered in my life. Once hitting the top of the Volcano with its perfect cone we set around and had a few beers to soak in the sights. On the way down, I thought I may literally die, after getting past the initial ice covered peak while sliding down at a very uncomfortable, potentially deadly speed, we had about 5,000ft ahead of us to reach our van. The night before our incredible journey, we arrived at the base and as I looked up, I saw the most amazing thing, stars covered the sky like a blanket, BRILLIANT!.

Rotorua Mud springs
  One thing that was a new experience for me was back packing and living in hostels, most of which were inhabited by people who barely spoke English. The last hostel I was fortunate to sleep in consisted of 12 people in one single room which was about 15 x 18 in size, what a smell! On my last day in Auckland I hooked up for a long run with Josh Rawlinson, the guy who blew my doors off at the Run Auckland 10k. This was my 4th run in 4 weeks and surprisingly I was able to knock out 2hrs and 9 minutes without falling to pieces. Thanks again Josh, it was great to meet you and your wife, good luck on your quest for sub 1:10 in November!

   Dreading the long flight ahead to San Francisco, I was so fortunate to sit in premium economy on the top deck of our 747. The guy who set next to me was awesome, a very well traveled person who was going to san fran for a bachelors party, so we had a lot to chat about. The food was great and the service was incredible, I think I had 4 jack and cokes, 1 gin and tonic and 2 glasses of wine in the 1st 2hours of the flight! (and champagne on arrival to my seat). Those of you who know me, know I can't sleep on planes so I figured why not just drink myself to sleep, well it still did not work! My adventures and pictures of California in part 2, enjoy some additional pics I took while in NZ
Sleeping Arrangement!


You read it yourself

View from the Rotating Sky Tower at Night

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