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Canyoning Day 2 Photos

Posted by Jason del Sur in Adventure Down Under, Photo Albums
December 25th, 2007

From the Routebourn trip:

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More Canyoning

Posted by Jason del Sur in Adventure Down Under
December 25th, 2007

Merry Christmas to everyone! I need a break from the Guitar Hero we’ve been playing all day, and we’re waiting on my dad’s prime rib to finish cooking, so I figured this would be a good time to wrap up my NZ posts.

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As I said last time, I enjoyed the previous day’s canyoning, that I couldn’t help but sign up for another day. This day’s venue was Routeburn Canyon, about 45 minutes outside of Queenstown, and the trip would last the whole day.

The company was nowhere near as good as I had bid everyone adieu to continue on their separate adventures. But I have to say, the canyon itself was superior to the one near Queenstown. This was the original location and the other one seemed a little more contrived. It makes good business sense for them since it allows them to offer trips at a lower price and a shorter time commitment.

After the initial hike in, the jumps, slides, and abseils were one right after another. There were a few moments for relaxing and enjoying the pristine river and forest. The water was so clean I was even able to drink it to stay hydrated. That was some cool, tasty water (and no I didn’t get sick from it).

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And the only way to exit the canyon: floating:

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And now my Adventure Down Under comes to a close. The only thing left was a long flight home and being greeted by 8 inches of snow.

More photos…

Canyoning

Posted by Jason del Sur in Adventure Down Under
December 21st, 2007

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in airports lately: ORD, ATL, LAX, MEL, SYD, ZQN, AKL, MDW, and soon LHR all within about a month. And now I’m stuck at O’Hare with a three hour delay leaving me time for another post. I’m almost caught up here, and hopefully I will be fully caught up before I leave for London on Thursday.

My penultimate day in NZ (it’s just fun anytime I can use that word). Everyone else’s final day. My personal favorite activity. I enjoyed it so much that as soon as we were done I signed up to do it again the next day.

It was time for canyoning, also known as canyoneering. Wikipedia defines it as “is traveling in canyons using a variety of techniques that may include walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, abseiling, and/or swimming.” Abseiling is what we Americans call rappelling. And that’s pretty much what it is.

Hop out of the van, and get suited up. The wetsuit is a necessity as all the water we’ll be moving through is snow melt, so it’s damn cold.

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(Us before the canyoning)

It does make you feel a little like James Bond in that gear.

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Then on to hit the canyon. Start with a little hiking in, then some zip-lining.

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Got some jumping in. It’s amazing the difference between 6 meters and 8 meters. And then again 10 meters. (10 meters = 32.8 feet). And you definitely hit the bottom of the pool when you land.

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(That’s the 8m ledge up there)

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I think my favorite part was where we ziplined halfway out into the canyon, then free rappelled down into the pool below. It’s been years since I’ve rappelled, but somehow still managed to remember how to do it. It was incredibly humorous watching the people that had no idea. If only there were videos of it.

And finally us at the end:

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I’ve decided that if I ever move to Queenstown, this is the job I’m going to get: leading canyoning tours.

Even more canyoning photos…

And then off to the bars to celebrate the end of our adventure in Queenstown (well, I still had one more day, but it was kind of the end of an era. If an era is six days long.

Oh yeah, gotta include the chest bump:

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Wanderlust Got Me Again

Posted by Jason del Sur in Adventure Down Under, London 2008
December 19th, 2007

I know many of you have been confused about me being back home. I am, in fact, back in Chicago. I’ve actually been home for about a week, but as I haven’t exactly been happy about being back to work and winter, I haven’t made a big to-do.

While I was in New Zealand I was too busy doing all the exciting things you’ve read about that I didn’t have time to write about them while I was there. That has forced me to write the posts from home to try to catch up. And I still have about two days worth of posts to write. That’s how awesome it was.

Now to the big news: it’s already time for another trip. My boss had previously decided to give us Monday through Wednesday off of next week for Christmas and Monday and Tuesday of the following week for New Year. We’ve also been looking to repaint and recarpet the office. This has led to us closing the office for all of next week. Naturally, all I could think about was going somewhere.

I’ve been thinking for a while on where to go, and today it finally came to me: London. I found out that a couple friends will be in London for New Years (completely independently, but they coincidentally are friends as well–I bring people together across the world). Ashley said I should go as well. That was all the coercion I needed. I called up Brian and talked him into it as well (he didn’t need much forcing, either). So now we have plane tickets and will once again be gallivanting across the ocean. This is definitely the most spur of the moment trip I’ve ever been on.

So be prepared for even more. And my plan is to get the last two days worth of photos and stories up before I leave for Atlanta for Christmas….

Glacier Surfing

Posted by Jason del Sur in Adventure Down Under
December 18th, 2007

awe·somesm) adj. 1. Inspiring awe

awe (ô) n. 1. A mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, great beauty, sublimity, or might (I had no idea dread was in there, but we’ll leave that out for my definition)

After spending the morning inside the awesome Milford Sound, the road back to Queenstown began. On the road back, we had plenty of time for the “wow, look at that, it’s amazing” stops we had to forgo that morning.Shortly after emerging from the Homer Tunnel off on the side of the road we saw a tall waterfall with snow at its base. Now it’s summer, sunny, and close to 80 degrees. Yet, there’s still snow. And naturally the only thing to do is climb the snow to the waterfall.

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It doesn’t look that far off, does it? As I mentioned before, New Zealand likes to mess with your perception of distance. We began walking over the rocks, and several hundred yards later, we reached the edge of the snow. As we continued toward our final goal, the base of the waterfall, somehow, it seemed to keep getting farther away. By my approximation, it ended up being about a mile and a half up.

In addition to the surprise of distance, what we found at the top as just as shocking:

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We hadn’t been walking on a little snow on top of rocks. We were on a good 10 feet of solid ice with water flowing through caves underneath. (Yes, me in my brilliance climbed down into the hole). But I did discover a small series of tunnels popping out on the surface at various locations.

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The way down was quite a bit easier as we discovered Glacier Surfing. It’s like skiing, only without skis. And goggles. And a helmet. But it gets you down the hill quicker. Of course some people had more trouble than others:

Of course, I had trouble just standing up to film that.

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(the idea was to photoshop our name for the waterfall on the signpost: Te Wakadirkajeegawau, a bastardization of the maori language combined with the fact that we watched Team America a couple days before)

A few more photos from the way home:

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