Monday, July 11, 2005

The Southern Alps, 6th December 1999

At the end of December 1999, I took my family for a tour of the South Island. We drove the Toyota Ceres from Christchurch to Hanmer Springs, Westport, Punakaiki, Franz Josep glacier, Lake Wanaka, Mt Cook, Ashburton and back to Christchurch again. On the way to Mt. Cook we saw the Southern Alps from far away. It looked very impressive indeed. Be prepared to stop the car many times for photographs. If only I had a digital camera then! The mountain scenes were fabulous so were the wild flowers on the shores of Wanaka.

Our first glimpse of snow capped mountains

Around this part of the South Island, the road was flat and straight for miles. It was so easy to drive there.

Part of the Southern Alps

If we keep stopping like this for photos, we will never get there.

One for the family album

I needed a flash for my Olympus Trip 35. We wanted the mountains as a background; but the sun was in the wrong position.

Mt. Cook YHA

We finally arrived at Mt. Cook YHA, a very luxurious back packer.We got a family room to ourselves. Pearl booked it months ahead via the internet.

Satu batang rokok lagi

After a good night's sleep, the next morning we were ready to tackle the mountain on foot. I had a small day pack with plenty of drinking water and some food for a whole day's tramp to the foot of the mountain.

Closer now

The majestic Mt. Cook. I felt a very strong attraction coming from the mountain, wanting to get nearer for a better view. The blue skies provided an excellent back drop for photos. We walked for hours in the cool December weather.

The half way point

Should we turn back now?

Hooker Valley

I have been thinking. Perhaps we should continue walking for a little bit more?

Kevin at Mt. Cook

At close range the mountain seem overbearing and so huge. I could actually feel the physical attraction and began to understand why people climb mountains. I grew up in Miri. near Mt. Lambir; but it was nothing like this one. It was just a dark green colour all over and never covered with snow. This mountain feels real and more friendly.

Not far to go?

We need to track for at least another 3 more days to the top!

Panoramic view

I bet Kevin feels very small standing there! This photo was taken using Kevin's camera, a Canon which has a panoramic view setting. It is great for taking pictures of mountains and wide landscapes. We were actually standing too near the mountain for a good shot.

I give up, let's go home!

I am thinking of giving up.

The best part of the tramp

I like best, the going home part! My estimate: we walked almost 15 km that day. It felt more like 50.