Originally written on 28 December 2014 while Clair and I were touring the south Island of New Zealand.
Today’s drive was incredible. We passed through old growth forests, vast grass plains, craggy snow-capped mountains, and rushing rivers. The landscape really did remind me of Lord of the Rings. In just two hours we saw the equivalent of four US states’ worth of terrains.
We arrived early in Milford Sound to make sure we made our 3:45 boat departure to view the sound. The cold, dark waters of the sound are protected by looming mountains. So the water was placid and I had no fear of seasickness. But on the whole our time in Milford Sound was bittersweet. The sound was magnificent. Its towering cliffs plunged into the dark, cold waters. Waterfalls gushed from the vanishing glacier and seals were sunbathing on rock outcroppings.
On the other hand the stay at our campsite was problematic. The site was minimal, which would have been no problem given our luxurious camper van. But it was swarmed with gnats and sand flies. I started writing this article and stopped after three paragraphs because a swarm of gnats was drawn to my body heat. Clair and I spent most of the night in the guest lodge drinking our beer and wine.
We eventually tried to grill our chicken stuffed with apricot and cheese using the camper’s grill. We hoped waiting until near sundown (10 pm) would mean fewer gnats. But we were wrong. Furthermore the under-powered grill couldn’t properly cook the rotund breasts. We ended up finishing the cooking in our van, sealed off from the wild’s insects, and pounding the few of them bold enough to follow us into the camper and settle on the vehicle’s walls.
We were treated to a spectacular view of the stars. My pictures may lack a compelling foreground but the glistening swath of the heavens was awe inspiring.