Dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s Burger was fantastic as usual.
A few more photos from the phone.
Short road trip to Las Vegas, Nevada for a few days. Lots of walking around through the city and a little trip atop the Eiffel Tower 🙂
One last photo gallery (I’m catching up on things). This time from 2016 along the Oregon Coast Trail.
I was feeling pretty good and I made it a point of crossing the state of Oregon in 14 days. Since there are small towns along the way, food wasn’t a problem and I didn’t have to carry more than one day of food at a time. As for water, there are thousands of streams / rivers everywhere so that wasn’t a problem either. Weather was mostly good except for one day of rain. Not too bad.
After New Zealand I spent about two months in Australia around Feb / March 2011.
Sydney, Melbourne, (quick trip to Tasmania) and finally Perth on the other side of the country. It was a lot of fun.
Australians are very proud of their backpacking trails. They enjoy reminding foreigners that there are “hundreds of things that can kill you”. It’s mostly BS if you ask me.
The South Coast Trail / Port Davey Track is however the craziest hike I’ve ever done…by far. It took about fourteen days to complete. I took a day off (in a green, half dome shelter) in the middle of it. I had a feeling a storm was coming. I was right. It rained non stop for 36 hours straight. When I came out the next day there was a foot of water absolutely everywhere around. A boardwalk that was supposed to be a foot above the ground was actually one foot under water. I hiked a few hours with water up to my knees.
Mud was also a problem. Turns out, it’s VERY difficult to get your leg out of the mud when you sink two feet into it. I crossed rivers by walking on dead trees that fell across. To this day I don’t know how I didn’t die 🙂
There’s something to be said about hiking along the south shore of Tasmania, looking south, knowing that there’s no more land…until Antarctica. One day maybe.
Hiking the “Te Araroa” took about five months so I had one month left on my visa to see a few landmarks that were not necessarily on the trail.
I traveled to The Catlins and did some kayaking in the Milford Sounds. There’s a lot to see in New Zealand and clearly I will have to go back at some point.
Funny story; after kayaking for a full day my body stopped generating heat. I was freezing no matter what. I was staying in a hostel in the evening and I ended up going to bed with two heavy blankets & sheets, plus my sleeping bag and all my clothes on. I was still freezing. It took several hours for my body to restart…To this day I have no idea what the problem was. It wasn’t Hypothermia (I had that twice on the Colorado Trail, trust me, I know…) but it’s one of the strangest things that happened to me on a trail.
I did lose a good part of my hearing (right side) for almost two days after a tiny branch went straight through my ear along the Te Araroa. My ear “popped” eventually and everything was fine. I also broke my arm there so I had to hike for six weeks using my camera bag as a “sling”. Luckily it fixed itself. In 2007 I lost all feelings in my right leg while backpacking late in the evening. Feelings came back. I think my backpack was putting too much pressure on some nerves. Who knows. Shit happens and people complain way too much if you ask me. Anyway…
After hiking the Te Araroa throughout the two main islands of New Zealand I decided to continue hiking. I flew to Oban, Stewart Island in one of these tiny propeller plane and did the “South West Circuit” track. It’s supposed to be a ten / eleven day trek but I was in good shape and decided to go thru two huts per day instead of one. It was a completely useless challenge since I wasn’t even using the hut system but it was fun to do…
In mid 2010 I decided to take a year off work. My visa situation was a mess (what’s new?) and one of my options was to leave the US for at least a year, come back and re-apply for a new visa. The US economy wasn’t going anywhere and my logic at the time was that I would be better off leaving my job, wait a year, and get a better paying job which meant the sabbatical would pay for itself. It worked perfectly. I got $10,000.00 more per year which happens to be what I spend while backpacking abroad. In the words of Hannibal; “I love it when a plan comes together”.
The plan was to spend six months hiking the entire length of New Zealand (about 2000 miles) along the “Te Araroa” Trail, then three months in Australia and Tasmania after which I would maybe spend some time somewhere in South Asia.
There’s a lot to say about this trail. In many ways it was a “compressed and intense” version of life. So many encounters (both good and bad) and so many adventures…I have many stories. I’ll write them down some day. In the meantime, a short series of photos will have to do.
Overnight for Christmas Eve / Day at Herman Lake . About seven mile RT. First time hiking that trail. I camped near the lake next to a giant boulder (first photo). A couple hiked up Pettingel Peak early in the morning (second photo). I started hiking up towards Pettingel Peak as well but without ice axe or trekking poles it was a bit too steep. Good workout though.