|From New Zealand 1993|
The Alps in Switzerland weren't the first Alps I've been to. Not even the Alps in Europe. The first time I visited mountains with 'Alps' in the name it was the Southern Alps (which I suppose is what you can also call the mountains in Ticino) in New Zealand.
I first started thinking about a trip to NZ when I was an undergrad at Washington. I remember chatting with another student about his trip to NZ. I also remember talking to my cartography professor, the venerable John Sherman about NZ. I don't remember why John talked to me about NZ, but his descriptions of the West Coast intrigued me. Descriptions of 'Metal Roads', the mountains that came straight down to the sea. While in grad school I remember a few other people talking about NZ, but at that point very few people actually went there...
It was in 1993. I'd been working at Boeing for awhile, and needed some serious time off. I originally tried to talk my boss into letting me disappear for a couple months, but I ended up just going for a bit over three weeks.
At that point you ran into two types of traveler in NZ. Those with a lot of time and not so much money, or those with little time to travel, but money to spend. I was more the latter than the former, so I ended up doing the guided version of the Milford Track. I didn't feel too guilty about it, as I had already met one of the Track guides, Murray, who had guided a co-worker when she did the trip. I decided I could do the big splurge for the Milford, and then stay in hostels and backcountry huts the rest of the time. I wasn't the only one with this plan, as when I arrived in Queenstown, I found out that one of my roomates in the hostel was also taking the trip as well. After walking the Milford, I found that a couple that was on the track with me was also staying at the same hostel I did. The YHA system was pretty good in those days. I think it probably still is. Anyways, I think my trips to NZ ended up being cheaper than staying at home, except for having to pay for the airfare.
Back then you couldn't haul a digital camera with you. So, I took slide film with me and used my Pentax K-1000. I had purchased a Sigma 200mm zoom lens and hiked around with that heavy thing for this trip. On later trips, that was replaced by a 28-80 lens that worked much better. A few of the slides are a bit dark, but I think overall they turned out all right, considering I used a flatbed scanner to digitize them.
This is the slide-show that I put together when I got back. These are the best out of about 16 rolls of film I shot on my first trip.
|From New Zealand 1993|