Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lake Matheson and the beautiful road to Wanaka

Before we left Glacier Country, the four of us headed just down the road to Lake Matheson: a body of water notorious for it's picture perfect reflection of Mt. Cook and the glaciers on a calm day.

We did not visit Lake Metheson on a perfect, still day but it was definitely beautiful regardless. We had an awesome time on the suspension bridge and made friends with an older British couple doing a house exchange in Austrailia, a pair of priests from the local community, as well as a German woman and her father (seen in the video below!)

I fell asleep as soon as we left Lake Matheson - I was utterly exhausted from the early morning wake up, the hike up the glacier, and extreme climate changes. I woke up a couple hours later as we approached our campsite for the night. This was one of the most stunning areas I had seen up until this point on the trip: incredible rolling fields of gold, forest along the roads, and snow capped mountains. Our campsite was buggy, but there was a rock beach and a river of glacial runoff. It was amazing. We cooked at a stone firepit before it was dark (possibly a first for us!) and were joined by 3 German men who weren't too certain of our quick conversations and jokes. We had tea for dessert and went to sleep around midnight.

We managed to get away with not paying yet again: our 6th consecutive win! We decided we should probably bathe and attempted to do so in the river. I scolded the boys for using soap in the river and had to literally limp back to shore as the water was so unbelievably frigid my feet cramped up and I couldn't walk.

We hit the road around noon and spent the day racing tour buses to the dozens of photo spots along the gorgeous road to Wanaka. We stopped at so many waterfalls, the "gates of Haas" (which is essentially a giant waterfall gushing into a river and absolutely perfect), and the infamous Blue Pools. The Blue Pools are the most brilliant blue I've ever seen. You walk this lovely 20 minute path through the forest to reach two suspension bridges that extend over the Blue Pools and surrounding river.

Dan had his heart set on jumping off of the suspension bridge into the Blue Pools: something we'd been told to do by the Germans we'd met the night before. And he did. He leapt from a bridge a good 20 to 24 feet in the air down into the crystal blue waters that were reportedly just as cold, if not colder than the glacial run off we'd bathed in that morning. Mike had a fun time pooping in the woods while I watched Tim and Dan survive the cold waters -- it's a good story, you should ask him about it sometime.

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