Key Summit

I should have thought about it when I read the name “Key Summit” that there would be some amount of climbing involved. A summit is not usually reached by going downhill or walking merrily along a flat path. Now, I would have gone on the hike no matter what. I am not opposed to doing some work to see something beautiful. The thing is that I suck at walking uphill, but I’ll do it because I want to get in better shape and I want to see what’s at the end of the hike. No words passed between me and Adam as we began the hike because none were necessary. I know from previous experience that he will march briskly ahead of me stopping every once in a while for me to catch up so that he can be assured that I haven’t fallen over a cliff, and I will trudge slowly, stopping at times to wheeze and pant. We began on a path covered with mossy trees and giant ferns. Water trickled over the jagged blue-gray rocks on the side of the path. We saw a kea (finally) which is a type of parrot native to New Zealand. The path continued to stay relatively flat for quite some time and I started to feel simultaneously relieved, confused, and fearful. “The path isn’t climbing up yet! Why isn’t the path climbing up yet? Shit, what if the path starts climbing up right now?” Continue reading “Key Summit”

It’s Not a Tick

“What’s this on my head?” I said to Adam feeling two little bumps protruding from the top of my head.

“I don’t know. You want me to put on the headlamp and look?”


Adam donned the headlamp and proceeded to comb through my hair with his fingers. “It looks like just a red bump…oh…”


“Nothing. I thought it might have been a tick.”

I suppressed the urge to squeal. “A TICK?!”

“It’s not a tick. It’s just red bumps. You probably just have some bug bites.” Continue reading “It’s Not a Tick”

Happy Campers

When we picked up the campervan in Christchurch, the guy showed us all of its salient features: here’s how to work the stove, here’s the hose for dumping wastewater, here’s the latch for the gas tank. He showed us where the dishes and the bedding were kept in the cabinets in the front and back of the roof extension. In hindsight, we should have taken a closer look into these cabinets, but we were way too anxious to get on the road to be concerned with such things. As previously stated, it rained all day and once we pulled into the campsite in Geraldine, we were ready for some dinner – our first cooking experience in the van. Upon opening the cabinet where the dishes were kept, the unmistakable smell of mildew wafted out and I realized that this cabinet, which was covered in carpet, was soaking wet. All of the dishes were covered in black mildew. Luckily, the bedding fared slightly better – only one pillow, a sheet, and some towels fell victim to the water. So we washed all of the dishes and decided to cook our dinner of sausages and potatoes in the campground kitchen. If we hadn’t, we would probably still be smelling like sausages. Continue reading “Happy Campers”

Land of the Hobbits

July 28/29 was one of the longest days ever, partly because it was actually two days in one since we crossed the dateline, and partly because we spent about 10 hours in the Auckland airport. When we planned the trip, we booked our flight to Rarotonga/New Zealand first. Then when we started looking at prices for taking a campervan on the ferry from the North island to the South island, we thought better of it and decided to just fly from Auckland to Christchurch. As usual, the cheapest flight turned out to be the most inconvenient one and had us leaving from Auckland at 8:00 PM – 10 hours after our flight from Rarotonga came in. And, as usual, it didn’t seem like such a bad idea at the time. I now know the Auckland airport intimately. Go ahead, ask me anything. Continue reading “Land of the Hobbits”

Impressions of Rarotonga

Now that we’ve been away from Rarotonga for a couple of days, I can reflect on a few things.

The island: The island itself is about 24 km in circumference and is completely surrounded by a lagoon that is great for snorkeling in most places. We went out twice in the area right outside of our hostel and found lots of different fish, eels, starfish, etc. The water is cooler than I expected; definitely not Bay Area cold, but Continue reading “Impressions of Rarotonga”