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A Couple of Weekends of Adventures

The past couple of weekends have included quite a few awesome trips.  Two weekends ago a few of our friends from orientation that are studying at University of Otago came to visit.  We decided to road trip the first day they were here and drove down to Hakatere Conservation park, about 2 ½ hours south of Christchurch.  This spot was really exciting because part of the Lord of the Rings had been filmed on Mount Sunday in the park!  The drive into the park was really sweet.  We traveled along a winding, dirt road for about 45 minutes across some grassy plains with the Southern Alps rising up on the sides.  This trip was a lot different from the rest of our trips so far since we weren’t climbing any mountains, but it was really cool to be in the valley between the mountains and take in a different terrain.

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Mount Sunday was an easy 10 minute walk from the car park and we spent awhile on the hill imagining the set they had built to film Rohan in the Lord of the Rings Movies.  After some time we wandered back to the car and headed back to Christchurch.  That night we watched the Lord of the Rings and got really excited every time a scene came up that had Rohan in it since we had just been there!  The next day we took our friends into the city to show them around Christchurch and then said goodbye and crammed in some homework for the rest of the night.

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This past weekend we went on yet another excursion, this time to Lake Tekapo.  This was about a 3 hour drive south of Christchurch.  We left Friday afternoon and arrived just after dark to a small campground on a nearby lake, Lake Alexandria.  We set up camp for the night and took a stroll to look at the stars.  I honestly have never seen as many stars as I say that night.  Lake Tekapo is supposedly one of the best places on Earth to see the stars and I can defiantly see why!  Unfortunately my camera wasn’t good enough to take any pictures, but I snagged one from a friend with a much nicer camera than mine!

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The next day we woke up early and headed to the lake to try our hand at fishing.  We had been told the salmon and trout fishing in Lake Alexandria was really good this time of year, but we had no such luck.  We did manage to see quite a few fish, mostly rainbow trout in the stream leading into the lake, but nothing ended up biting.

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We finally gave up, packed up camp, and headed for a trail on the other side of Lake Tekapo.  After driving nearly an hour down a gravel road we arrived in a small town (if you could call it a town as there were only about 3 houses) where the trail we wanted to hike supposedly started.  After searching for another hour and asking every person we could find, we finally managed to locate the start of the hike.  We parked, grabbed our packs and started walking as we had a pretty decent hike ahead of us to make it to the hut before dark.  About halfway up we realized the hike was pretty ambitious as it almost 4 miles long, mostly up a steep hillside.  After about 3 hours we finally made it to the hut just before dark.  We started a fire in the stove, cooked dinner, and headed to bed for the night.

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The next day we woke up and spent the morning exploring the area we were in.  We had hiked up over a range of mountains into a valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks with a river running down the middle.  The views were absolutely beautiful and again something different than our other trips!  After a few hours of exploring we packed up and headed back to the car.  Once we crested the mountain it was an easy walk down as we spent half the time sliding down the snowy hillside.  All in all it was another great trip!!  Now it’s just one more week of class before spring break…

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