Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 19:45:35 -0800 (PST)
From: Send an Instant Message "Michael Tselman"
Subject: Note 2 (New Zealand)

Hello friends,

I just returned from Kepler Tramp - a 4 day trek through the mountains and forests on the south tip of the south island of New Zealand. "Tramp" is the word that New Zealanders use for hiking. So we did some "tramping". The tramps go along well maintained trails and you can sleep at the huts which have bunk beds and kitchen areas with gas stoves and water. All you need to bring is some food to cook, sleeping bag and some rain gear and warm clothes. So you travel light and have a chance to look at the scenery which is quite beautiful despite the not so great weather. But we've got lucky as it rains much less than it is predicted. The distances between huts are relatively short: 15-17 kilometers although some days require over 1000meters elevaition gains, so you arrive early and have the whole afternoon to chat with fellow trampers from all over the world, read a bit and do radial hikes from the hut.

New Zealand, with its wet climate on the South and with the steep terrain formed by the glaciers is the land of waterfalls. They are everywhere and they are tall - 160 meters is just an average waterfall here. People from all over the world tramp around New Zealand. On our tramp there were several Swiss girls, guys from UK and Ireland, family from Australia, a guy from US with his wife from Tadjikistan, etc.. This last couple spoke mostly russian to each other as the guy from US has lived in Russia and its republics for over 5 years and travelled a lot around the rest of the world. So there is no chance of getting bored on these tramps - you always can find a willing soul to talk to or just listen into some other conversation. Everyone except for the brits agreed that the prepared food in NZ sucks. Only the UK people say "it's just fine", but we know better :).

Ok. My timer on the internet is expiring. Next destination - mount Aspiring if the weather permits.

Talk to you later, --Misha