Friday, August 23, 2019

Makarora, Blue Pools, and on to Haast

It was a morning with neither cell phone reception nor wi-fi. What do you do as you sip your first coffee or tea? Back in the day people leaned out front doors to pick up newspapers. Then came TV local and national news. Now everything's on phone or computer--headlines, online scrabble, email. I admit I missed my morning review.

Our very-70s looking, unconnected Makarora campground

So instead, with a mug of Art's strong French-press coffee, today we pulled out my next book to read, Rowing The Atlantic, by Roz Savage, a management consultant who quit her job to...well, you know from the title. Just finished Medium Raw, by Anthony Bourdain. He burned hot and left like a candle in the wind.

Also maps. Online, yes, but also paper, with a scale you get nowhere else, including Land Rover (metal/gravel) roads.

Road food: raw beets and carrots w salami and cheese

About halfway to Haast, our destination, you can pull into a car park and take a little walk to the blue pools. So we did.

 This sign says it all...

Liquid turquoise

Morning light creates a shadow-box photo.

We're truly excited to be on the road to Haast--a beloved place on NZ's wild west coast. It's situated on the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park, the same vast park we walked in Glenorchy. Here are some stats:

Mount Aspiring National Park is a wonderful mixture of remote wilderness, high mountains and beautiful river valleys. It is a walker's paradise and a must for mountaineers...It straddles the southern end of the Southern Alps...and is one of New Zealand's larger parks at 355,543 hectares (ed note: 877,000 acres--compare to Yellowstone at 2.2 million) and it lies alongside the largest, Fiordland National Park.

  • New Zealand's third largest national park (355,543 hectares)
  • Part of Te Wahipounamu - Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area 
  • 59 bird species have been recorded (45 native and 14 introduced) 
  • Over 400 species of moths and butterflies exist 
  • The three largest of 100 glaciers in the region flank Mount Aspiring itself 
  • Nearly all the landforms in the park have been formed by intense glaciation
  • Location for Isengard - see Lord of the Rings filming locations

Here's our route to the West Coast (click here to view if reading in email). If you pull out on the map, you'll note that everything to the west is Mount Aspiring National Park. I always feel at absolute peace in this remote part of NZ. Because of the rivers and the Tasman Sea? Or because of the trees and the native bush, untouched by loggers (or mostly so)?

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