Thursday, June 2, 2011

Two Terrific Days and a Stinky Night

Two terrific days here--yesterday Barry and I took a "water taxi" for tourists up to Abel Tasman National Park on the Northwest Coast of New Zealand.  After seeing seals nursing their pups from our post on the boat, the pilot let us off on a beach and we took this great trail over to the pick-up point.

New Zealand Harbour Seal taking life easy

We walked through rain forest and along beaches for about 5 or 6 miles.  The best part was having to cross over a tidal flat (at low tide!) and nonetheless walking through a good quarter mile of mud, shells, and the occasional stream.  It was really fun, and it tuckered us out really well.
Barry getting spa mud treatment

Today we drove west and south to the West Coast of the Southern Island to Punakaiki National Park.  On the way we stopped outside Murchison at a deep chasm with a rushing stream below.  That's where we walked the scariest Swing Bridge ever constructed (IMHO) and we rode back across the stream on a zip line.  It was a blast.  But the Swing Bridge was not a blast as it played off my fears of unprotected heights and rushing deep water ... wow I was glad to get across that one.  One step at a time.  Good sermon illustration.

At Punakaiki Park there are these very cool towers of limestone right on the beach, cutely named "Pancake Rocks."  We had a couple really nice shorter walks here.

Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki National Park
And the place we are staying has its own grotto (actually a damp recess in a bank on a hill).  This grotto is very cool because when you go there at night it's lit up by glowworms--looks like stars on the side of the bank.  I had never seen this kind of thing before and it was amazing.  Must have been 50 or so little points of light from these things--apparently they manufacture a phosphorescent chemical to attract insects to eat.

After we saw the stars in the earth we took another look at the Milky Way; it's so gorgeous here, far away from the lights of a town.  Oh we also saw a kiwi (bird, not NZ citizen, fuzzy fruit, or dollar) scurry across the road in front of the car.  Nice!

And the stinky night?  An intestinal bug made a nocturnal visit...but all well now, thank God.
Love to all and prayers for the tornado victims in Massachusetts.

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