Once the snow came in NZ, I basically skied a lot. This took up most of the day because I had to go back and forth from Hawea to the SnowFarm. I’d be up at 7, drive in to Wanaka or the base of the SnowFarm road, and then hitch up the hill. Often I could get a ride with someone I knew. Then I’d ski. Eat lunch, rest a bit, and then ski again, before starting the hitch down. It was tough to make it back home before dark, and the house would be the same temperature as the outside air. We’d light a driftwood fire in the little coal stove, put the electric heater in the bathroom to make for a pleasantly warm shower, and then make dinner. The conditions were awesome, and it was just so nice to be skiing in the summer, that it was hard to not just keep doing this every day of the week. But it got pretty exhausting with so much travel and not much rest between workouts. Some days I helped with the local junior program to earn my season’s pass. I had thought that I’d be able to work more giving lessons, but they didn’t really need me much, so I only gave a few lessons. This also made for a lot of time on skis!
NZ biathlon was having a kids biathlon camp for a week, and I was given the opportunity to stay up at the SnowFarm Lodge and help out with the camp. This was pretty nice since it cut out the traveling time, and the food up there was also awesome!
After about 3 weeks of skiing almost every day and putting in a lot of volume, I was feeling pretty ready to do something else. So Nils and I headed to the West Coast to do some backpacking. As you head west from Wanaka, its not long before you go from brown sheep pasture to green mossy jungle, going impossibly steeply up into snowy, jagged mountains. The West Coast is crazy. We hiked on the Copland track, which is a popular route for most of the year, but was pretty quiet for us. We stayed at Welcome Flat Hut–which looked more like someone’s house than an alpine hut, even though it was a good ways out. This was due to the fact that its situated right next to hot springs. Plus its in this cool little jungly valley surrounded by gigantic rocky peaks. The hot springs are good and natural–they are full of green slime and surrounded by a rainbow of colors–bright orange and yellow mineral deposits mixing with green algae, and of course the smell of sulfur. They were awesome!! After a bunch of soaks in the hot springs and a cool trail run up-valley, we headed back down the valley and stayed at another tiny little hut. It was a great break from skiing, and made me more psyched to ski more before I came home.
A quick update on the spinach I planted in the coldframe: it took almost a month to germinate. In the 7 weeks since I planted it, it grew to be about `1-1.5 inches tall. It had just started to get its real spinach leaves. We had to move it to the compost pile before we left, which was sad…but it was an interesting experiment, and I even ate a few little spinach-shoots.
Now, after 24 hours of travelling, then a few busy days at my cousin’s wedding in Palo Alto, CA, and then another almost 24 hours of travelling, I’m finally back in Craftsbury! Yay!