Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter Light

The far ridge has put on a light show all day today.

In the sunset light the trees on the ridge top seem to have been plugged in. My photography does not do this justice. I guess you have to be glad I tried to capture it instead of just going for another glass of wine and the binoculars.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama Goes to the Lions Den (And Kick some Lion Rear)

President Obama went to the Republican retreat today. He stood there, took their questions (including a really stupid blathering from TN Congressperson Marsha Blackman), and fed them some humble pie. It was televised on CNN and several Republicans are complaining that was a big mistake.

Obama stands and delivers.

The spin started before Obama was even finished. The Republicans kept trying to end it saying, "Mr. President, We're sure you have other commitments."

"Nah, I'm having fun," said Barack Obama.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back Home on a Winter Walk

So enough about New Zealand. We're home again after an epic flight and the delivery guy just brought our luggage home after the airline lost it. All is good and we cemented our homecoming with a little walk up the creek. Even though we've been hiking around glaciers the local cold is, um, refreshing.

Ice on the swimming hole...
In a very few weeks, several fish species will start their mating season in the creek. Deep in this pool the temperature is nearly the same year round, with the cold only affecting the upper 15 feet. Down deep it is always 58 to 64 degrees when the water flows are below those required to stir things up.

Ice on Ford Branch.

Cheers to all in the new year. Glad to be home!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Hanging with the Stars

Some stars wear sun glasses when they go out in public, this one wears clouds. Mt. Ngauruhoe, one of the cameo stars of "Lord of the Rings" known on screen as Mt. Doom, refused to put in an appearance for us. I think that Orc thing has left it a bit shy. We're on the sunny side so the snow cap didn't make the shot.

And now the big star...Mordor! Mount Tongariro gives its name to the National park that contains these volcanoes. One of them, Mt. Ruapehu, has erupted as recently as 2007 and killed 153 people in 1996. Doesn't stop the locals from building a ski village right up on the slopes in the volcanic detritus.

The Kiwis have a certain dry humor that abounds in everything, even the highway signs.

We never saw a live kiwi but the warning signs for their signature bird were everywhere in the parks. Introduced mammals, the possum and a weasel, may be the end of kiwis in the wild.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Home Stretch

We're on the way back to Aukland to fly home in three days. We gain back the day we lost crossing the date line but the jet lag will be the same. Here's a few more pix to make you jealous.

Sunset at Glenhu Bay near Mt Aspiring.
Reversible Falls going the right way. We named it that.

Here's why...

They had a trampoline at the campground near Mt. Cook. There were 140 kph wind gusts at 3000 meters that night. We were only at 1500 but our tent got flattened anyway.

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Year in New Zealand

This is the Glacier Burn track in the Holden Range across from Glenorchy. The glacial lakes are mind bogglingly aqua and massive. This was roughly a 1500 meter ascent through an ancient forest. We were sure we were going to have to start fighting Orcs any second. More pictures later when I get to an internet connection that actually works.