There and Back Again
Friday August 31, 2012
New Zealand is seriously the most beautiful place in the entire world. We arrived at the airport and as soon as I stepped outside I was met by the crisp, clean air. It smelled like fall everywhere which was awesome because fall always makes me feel at home. We were driven to One Tree Hill by our guide Lyndsey. One Tree Hill is a very large mount in Auckland that makes one feel as if they stepped off the bus and onto the shire! Rolling green hills surrounded me as did beautiful mama sheep and their baby lambs. I took deep breaths constantly—like I was trying to get the crisp morning air to fill me up completely. At the top of One Tree Hill there is now a monument where a very tall tree once stood. There is some controversy surrounding the tree. The Maori people didn’t want the tree on top of their paa. It was cut down during a protest and replaced by a monument. The monument looked cold to me and was nothing compared to the surrounding beauty. You could see all of Auckland and just so much beauty! I felt like I might bubble over with pure excitement. I love New Zealand and this wonderful group of people I am with.
-Bonnie Rae Fisher
The Dead Marshes
Well, I thought I was a size 4 but the morning before going to Karekare beach I found out otherwise while trying on wetsuits, which I found out only keep you dry when water is below your armpits. Our day was to be spent river hiking through sprawling canyons laid out in the perfect serpentine shape. The view ahead consisted of layers of green mountains and blue skies. As we tramped over rocks and grasses, inevitably taking some accidental dips, the group was able to have some good bonding time meeting each obstacle that came along. As we left the canyons, we came across marshes I’m pretty sure were straight from Lord of the Rings. Maybe it’s because we’re in New Zealand, but every sight we come across seems to have been a scene that was filmed somewhere in the trilogy. I digress. The black sand dunes were the last lap. As the sun set while we walked the dark shores, the melodies of nature surrounding us were louder than it had been the entire day. And just as the marshes were, the group was dead tired from a long day in the mountains.