Craters of the Moon National Monument in southern Idaho is often described as “the strangest 75 square miles on the North American Continent”. This chaotic mess of volcanic craters, lava flows, and piles of loose rock is so other-worldly that the Apollo astronauts trained here in preparation for their moon missions. Julius Merrill, who visited in 1864, described it as “a mass of Black Vomit”.
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A month ago we completed the South Island portion of the Te Araroa, New Zealand’s national trail, which runs the entire length of the country. We were amazed at the rich diversity of scenery and landscapes. From the steamy rainforest and hidden coves of the Queen Charlotte Track to the craggy cliffs of the Richmond Range to the endless golden tussock fields of the Rangitata, we felt like every day was a new discovery. New Zealand packs a tremendous amount of variety into a small country. Sore feet and heavy packs are already fading memories. Instead, we think fondly of the people we met along the trail who shared the journey with us or welcomed us into their homes.
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From Riverton we walked along the long sandy beach all the way to the outskirts of Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city. The walking was quick and easy, although high tide was in the middle of the day, forcing us up into the sand dunes briefly.
Continue reading “Te Araroa – Bluff & The End”
After a night in Otautau, we hitched back to the trail. It’s our final climb on the Te Araroa – the very last one after walking the whole South Island! We quickly reached Bald Hill with views of the sea and Stewart Island (New Zealand’s third largest) far in the distance. And there’s Bluff – the end of the trail
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We had a very nice break from hiking with our visit to Milford Sound. Mind and body refreshed, it was time to get back on the trail. We began with a nice farm track heading into the mountains.
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Arriving in Te Anau two days earlier than planned, we jumped on the opportunity to see something completely different – the famous Milford Sound.
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Queenstown was an exciting place for a break from hiking but I was happy to get back on the trail. Less shopping, more walking.
Continue reading “Queenstown to Greenstone”