Bus Ride to Mt. Cook
We left Queenstown at 8 am on Sunday morning. Our bus headed for Mt. Cook, the tallest peak in New Zealand. Unfortunately, it was rainy, and we could only see the base of the mountain. Regardless the landscape was breathtaking. The valley is extremely flat – no hills whatsoever. Where the mountain meets the valley, the ground shoots straight up 10,000 plus feet. Unlike home where the mountains are preceded by rolling foothills, these mountains literally come out of no where. In fact, each year Mt. Cook grows approximately 7 cm as the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates comes crashing into one another. The physical results are some of the most dramatic contrasts between mountain and valleys I have ever seen.
Mt Cook was also made famous by Sir Edmond Hillary. Here he practiced for his ascent to Mt. Everest. Though while Mt. Cook is tall, it is barely half the height of Everest. Still it is said to be quite a challenging climb.
I probably should have spent more time there, but I decided the next day to move onward to Christchurch. I spent the afternoon I did have in Mt. Cook walking around the valley and looking up at the monstrous glaciers hugging the base of the mountain. Unfortunately, our stop was brief here and the seven days in Queenstown had taken its toll on me. I needed some rest. I passed out at 8:30 PM. The next morning I headed on the Stray bus to a small town outside of Christchurch.