I’m tempted to start this post something along the lines of “this week was awesome/epic/insert other synonyms here” but I see that I’ve started the last four posts that way. Oh well. Now that all of us are really getting into the part of the semester where work piles up, we decided to take a break Tuesday night and camp out in some caves near the beach. Why not, right? We grabbed some Velvet Burger our sleeping bags, and hats and were on our way. The drive was longer than I antipicated, and by the time we got there it was pitch black. Luckily I had my headlamp that I bought in Queenstown (for $10!) after realizing that hiking (and tripping several times) in the dark probably wasn’t the smartest idea. We found this massive cave to sleep in, and it had plenty of cool shelf-ish areas to put our bags and had several different “rooms.” We hadn’t planned on it being as cold as it was, so we decided to start up a fire. It took a while and lots of false starts, but it happened! Voila, see below.
We went on with classes and such for the rest of the week, until Friday when the sun came back out again. We headed off to Amagorana beach, one of the best surf destinations in the southern island. But we really just wanted to hang out on the sand…until we wanted to climb on the rocks. All was going swell, as Eliza, one of the Outing Club guides + rock climber extraordinaire from SLU talked us through the climb up. We hung out in the center of the circle seen below for a half hour or so, admiring the views and saying “isn’t this the life?” in probably a dozen different ways.
We decided to start the descent and I couldn’t believe how much harder it felt. All of the sudden this was starting to feel like a bad idea. Luckily Eliza was just three feet or so down from me, and talked me through every single hold. Then it was Zoe’s turn. There was this part of the rock that you needed to stretch your leg as far as you could downwards, and there was a split second where you needed to ease your hand grip just trust that there was something flat near your foot to hold onto. Difficult to explain.
Anyway, Zoe fell. Hard. It happened so quickly that I’m not even sure any of us had time to swear but she fell from probably between 20-30 feet, hitting her knee and leg on the way down, and her upper body on the sand. Thank god for the soft landing. Lucky enough, Eliza had been maybe 3 feet from the ground at this point, talking up to Zoe. Zoe crashed into Eliza, rather than hitting the rock once again before the sand. Before I even got a chance to descent the rest of the rock face, Eliza was asking Zoe all the important questions, being upbeat and generally just impressive in a million different ways. Zoe was a champ about the entire thing, not even a tear or a complaint. We figured it was probably shock. Warning – little graphic here. The worst damage to her knee, which was probably the deepest gash I’ve ever witnessed…enough to see the muscle and all of that other good stuff. We helped her get into the water and wash it all off. She had plenty of sand in her eyes from the fall, which was probably for the best because we didn’t think seeing the blood would have helped very much. I remembered that I had my bike & build bandana on my head, and washed if off and handed it over to Eliza, who tied up the wound until the hospital. Anyway, she ended up with a fractured elbow, and a bandaged knee. No stithces, though! Eliza stayed with Zoe for about 5-6 hours in the hospital until she they got her all fixed up, while Max and I picked up groceries, and cooked up a great dinner for them both for when they finally got back. We figured a bottle of wine and some chocolate couldn’t hurt, either, so we got those too.
Zoe’s been quite an inspiring cripple, still dancing around with the two good limbs she as, as only Zoe could. Got to love her. Saturday night was Hyde Street, which was perhaps the most ridiculous social event I’ve ever attended. Picture 6,000ish college students with costumes, doing what college students do. Needless to say, it was an unbelievable amount of fun.
This weekend, we’re headed out Thursday afternoon to spend three days in the Fiordland national Park, home of Milford and Doubtful sound. Expect an especially scenic post next week!