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Tramping and Cultural Activities

Tramping and Cultural Activities

 

To start this out, this week I got to watch my favorite movie, one that really seems to hit close to home and remind me what I’m living for, Into the Wild. It was such a great part of my week as it always is every time I watch it. This time watching it was a little different however because seeing all the red rock of the canyon, deserts of Arizona, and the pictures of nature that I call home really made me miss the unique beauties of the desert and home. My favorite quote from there also seemed to take on a bit of a new meaning and gave me some needed strength for the week or in moments that I find myself missing home. The quote goes:

“I know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong, but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions facing the blind deaf stone alone with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head.”

This quote reminds me of the study abroad experience just a little bit because at times you feel weak, and very much alone, but it is often from these times that we learn the most because you are alone trekking along creating for your self this amazing experience and learning so much along the way. It reminded me that when I’m feeling different or alone it’s okay, as long as I remain confident in myself and this experience I’ll be able to make it through and come back with an abundance of valuable moments. The rest of the movie of course as always just inspired me to get back out into nature and all the beautiful places that New Zealand has to offer. So given such of course I went for a bit of a tramp this weekend with some friends.

We headed out on the Otago Peninsula on the early morning 8:57 bus to conquer the Harbor Cone, an extinct volcano on the peninsula with a rather steep slope. We arrived at our stop, Bacon Street, which of course we all joked around and soon started out on the tramp down the quaint road and onto the Bacon Track which started out through a nice little tree grove. I saw my first couple of lambs at the beginning of the walk which was exciting. We then switched over to the Harbor Cone Track and began the climb up. Yet again it was beautiful with the view of the city and harbor behind us, Hoopers inlet and the pacific in front of us, and the Pacific and Allan’s beach to the right. It was such a great day filled with sun, which was the first in the last week since the big snowstorm. There was even the last little bit of snow in places towards the top, reminding us that even though it was sunny and beautiful it is still winter down here. When we got to the top the sights were amazing and we actually got to see some sheep being herded by a farmer and his dog, It was really cool to watch because the sheep moved so quickly like a white wave across the hillside the small dot of the dog running the hillside next to them directing them from one place to the next. We soon after began our way down and onto a smaller track that ran along the ridge of the hillside and then down into a very very muddy valley. We cut down through some very thick brush on the hillside and had to use the roots of trees that were more like vines to keep ourselves from tumbling down the whole hillside, into the mud and brush. But it was a blast and absolutely hilarious to watch each person resist slipping and skating through the mud and moss. We eventually made it to the bottom where it now just appeared to be a swampy mud filled marsh, but it was equally as beautiful. The track had a couple of nice planks on which we crossed a couple of creeks and extremely wet places. The mud though was never ending. It seemed as though with each step I took was a battle between me and the mud to keep my shoe on my foot. I would watch myself take a step, see my shoe disappear into the mud, and then fight to pull it out followed by a nice squishing noise. It was a constant fight to keep from falling splat in it, but remarkably we all made it out without falling in it. We then walked past a herd of sheep and cows and back to the road running along the inlet. We then headed back into Portobello where we soaked up the sun while drinking chai at the only café in the town.

Soon after catching the bus back into Dunedin, I showered and then took off to a soccer game at the brand new stadium to watch the Wellington Phoenix take on the Australians from Brisbane. The stadium was filled with somewhere close to 15,00 people all bustling with excitement. We sat in the second row of what appeared to be the student section where cheers just constantly ran out under the bright lights of the stadium. Although the Wellington team lost badly and didn’t play so well it was still a blast to be in such an energy filled environment and to get a little taste of the sport culture here in New Zealand.

We then took off down the streets filled with people exiting the game down to the Octagon where we were going to watch the Rail Jam. We stopped at an Indian Restaurant to get some of my new favorite snack, naan, and then continued down to the heart of the city. When we got there the center of town was bustling with people and a local was rapping up on a stage while the volunteers were packing down the snow on the ramp to get ready for the next session of boarders and skiers who were hoping to nail some nasty tricks. It was a pretty fun scene, the music was great, and really fun to watch the snow enthusiasts crank out some tricks.

By the end of the day I was completely exhausted, but I figure that’s the sign of a great day filled with experiences and adventure. I went to bed that night happy to be in New Zealand and looking forward to the next chapter of New Zealand, our road trip across the South Island for mid-semester break the next weekend.

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