Monthly Archives: March 2010

Flyin’ through clouds, floatin’ through caves

Day 51 – 21 March 2010

What an epic weekend. On Friday morning, James, Mellissa, Jessica, and myself drove in one car and Molly, Jeff, Angel and Joanne rode in another down to Taupo where we went SKYDIVING. We were actually a bit late getting there (somehow Mellissa seriously injured her neck while sleeping) so they rushed us through, made us sign waivers and put us on a plane. Somehow I ended up closest to the back of the plane, meaning: I was going first. As I made small talk with my buddy (by the way awkwardly strapped to him and perched on his lap this entire time) I watched as his altimeter rose and the ground below us dropped away. When we reached 1200 feet he opened the door and told me to dangle my legs out the plane. Ya, sure, no problem. We tumbled out of the plane, maybe even did a few somersaults, but by the time I realized what was going on I was floating, not falling, through clouds at a very high speed. Although I was screaming at the top of my lungs, I couldn’t hear myself at all (I’m sure my friend steve did tho). The free fall went by fast but I did have enough time to realize that my mouth was gaping open and my checks were flapping uncontrollably in the wind. Then all of a sudden I was pulled upright and for  a graceful descent (filled with a few spins) down to the ground. I got to watch everyone land with huge smiles on their faces, too stoked to even muster up a ‘yee-haw’.  That night we camped at an awesome free campsite in Taupo right next to a river. We stayed up late signing along to Jeff’s guitar as campers next to us loudly expressed their opinions of our vocal skills.

We had planned to do a big day hike the next morning but we heard forecasts of bad weather so we ended up doing a hike just along the river opposite to where we had camped. We hiked to Huka falls and on the way back stopped in a thermal area where we all got in for a swim. We then tried to go to Rotorua to go zorbing but ended up going in the wrong direction for an hour and not making it in time. We headed to Waitomo, where, after hours of looking for a cheap campsite, we just pulled off and set up camp at the start of a trailhead.

The next morning we went on the Labyrinth black water rafting tour. It was awesome. We were instructed to put on a ton of wetsuit gear and then driven to the start of the cave. We walked, climbed and floated on inner tubes through the caves while the guides tried to scare us and make us laugh. There were so many glow worms, or glow maggots I should say, and at one point when we were instructed to try and find our way out without using our headlamps, my eyes adjusted to the dark and the glow worms lit the way. If I had been slightly warmer I could have stayed in there all day. After the tour we got to take hot showers and they fed us tomato soup and bagels. Then we hit the road, made it back to Auckland just in time to get some homework done before I go to sleep. Maybe.

Stream Bash

Day 43- 13 March 2010

This weekend was my first painful encounter of having too many fun things to do.  A couple weeks ago I signed up to go surfing this Sunday with a travel company that had thrown a party for international kids. So, I could not go on the climbing club’s first trip or any of the tramping club’s two day trips. So I decided to go on a one day ‘Stream Bash’ with the tramping club on Saturday even though this meant missing the Pasifika festival.  I was pretty nervous because I wasn’t sure what ‘stream bashing’ meant and the email that the trip guide sent out said ‘if you thought the last hike was hard, don’t come on this one’.  Met the group at 8- two kiwi uni students, a girl from so cal, and the trip guide and his wife who were both math professors at Auckland (and knew Ivan, my EAP coordinator).  We drove east from Auckland, around the Thames, up to Coromandel forest park where there was a long stretch of dirt road until we got to the trail head where we met the other 6 trampers. Turns out stream bashing just means hiking up a dry riverbed, sometimes jumping from rock to rock, sometimes climbing, sometimes swimming with your pack over your head. Basically it’s my new favorite thing. We scrambled up the Kauaeranga River, and through the gorge. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera (and deodorant, but that’s a different story) so I am unable to express to you just how amazing this gorge was except by saying, it was amazing. My favorite part was in a couple spots we had the option of swimming through a pool, or bouldering our way around it (and then if you fell in you got to swim!) Lately, I have been doing a lot more climbing, so it felt great to use my new skills outside, with natural holds and above some real cold, cold water. When we got to the dam we made a sharp right and hiked a STEEP ascent (I think someone said 300m) to the main trail, and then boogied it back to the car by about 6. Long day. When I got back to my dorm I got an email from the surf trip saying it had been canceled due to “awful conditions”. Probably for the best since I was exhausted and bruised all over anyway, but now I’m worried the re-scheduled trip will interfere with another fun-packed weekend. Gee, isn’t life hard.

clubs, clubs, clubs

Day 35- 5 March 2010

It’s Friday! And I don’t have a single class today yay! Classes are still kinda boring but after school activities have been fun- Tuesday I went to a free workout class that I am still sore from…Wednesday I went to see the film, ‘Goodbye Pork Pie’ in Grey Lynn Park with my ‘NZ buddy’, Erik. He is actually from Alaska and he has only been in NZ since July so any real questions I had he couldn’t answer and almost everything he told me I already knew- but he was nice at least. And the movie was good. It was like a NZ, 70s version of Harold and Kumar. Thursday I went rock climbing with the Auckland Uni Rock and Alpine club at a quarry near Eden Park. It was cool because they provided shoes and a harness and gave us some instructions on belaying (they say bee-lay) and climbing techniques. Brian is going down today to buy shoes- im not sure if im ready for that commitment yet. So I am now officially in the Tramping club and unofficially in the climbing club and Erik says I should join the canoe club too.  I can tell this year is going to teach me a lot about time management.

Uni

Day 31- 29 February 2010

Well that wasn’t so bad. Wasn’t so great either-but hey- it’s school. First class was envsci 201 with Joanne and I almost fell asleep. Tomorrow I definitely need more coffee. And to not stay up till midnight watching the little princess. My next class was envsci 301 which I had with Amanda and her best friend erin- that class seemed alright except we have to do a group project- icky. Then I hung around campus until my last class from 4-6 which was art history 210 which I had with jeff and Jessica. I know im gonna like it because its all about architecture. Got back in time for dinner- jeff came along too- and then went for a run in the domain. I am soooo out of shape. Hopefully not for long.