I finally made my way to the Rainbow hostel where I would stay for the next 3 nights. This was such a wonderful cozy hostel with a huge kitchen and lounging area which made is really east to meet others. I inquired about the bus that would be taking people to the crossing and the hostel owner said it wouldn't be running for about another week because the long range weather forecast looked so bad. The bus is really the only way to get there unless you have a car. Uh oh! I sure wasn't about to stay here for a week just to do the crossing. However, I quickly made 4 friends and one of them was a volcanologist and recommended we rent a car and drive up, go half way to the lake lookout and come back down, if the weather was ok. One of the friends I made was only in NZ for 8 days! His only goal on this whole trip was to do the crossing so he was very eager to get out no matter what. It was really by his determination that we made this happen.
(Nick, Martha, Parvin, and I on the Tangariro Crossing).
The day turned out to be fantastic, a bit windy, but wonderful and I can't imagine why the bus would not take people up here. I guess it is the mountain and weather can change at any time. We were very lucky! So lucky that one of the guys that came with us had already done the crossing. He came half way and then offered to drive the car to the finish and pick us up so the 3 of us could do the whole thing. I was super stoked by his offer and we gladly accepted.
The rest of the hike, after the 1/2 way point, was pretty much downhill. The trail switchbacked all the way down and I couldn't help myself and ran much of the way down. Perhaps not the smartest thing to do while in recovery mode from the race but I felt good so I went for it. That night we all had a wonderful time with many celebratory beverages!
The next day, 3 of us packed up and boarded a 6 hour bus to Wellington. I stayed in a hostel the first night but stayed with my friend Emily Solsberg and her husband for the next 4 nights. They are both runners and we enjoyed many fine runs together. They are both talented runners as well as fine people.
However, at some point a little bit of something flared up on the medial side of my right knee (but below the knee). It's kind of been bugging me on and off since then and I can't say I am too happy about it, being on vacation and all. It's really hard to rest when there is so much to see. I had a physio treatment which seemed to help for a bit but it's not completetly healed. Wellington is a great city and the museum is really cool as well as lot's of great shops and cafes. Emily, you were the hostess with the mostess and it was really great getting to know you better.
Another cool thing I did in Wellington was meet up with Dylan from Vibrum who hooked me up with a pair of 5 fingers. I won them from the Tarawera 100km race. He is the worlds nicest guy and we had fun chatting about barefoot running and racing etc. I got a pair called the Speeds, which are more of a casual shoe. I have never figured out why they are called the speeds but their pretty all the same. Since I do so much random walking on this trip I figured they might come in handy.
(Running the ridge off the Ben Lemond Track)
I was going to slowly make my way down to Queenstown but after seeing some running shots of Anton K, Anna F, and Mick in Queenstown/The Remarkables I decided just to book a flight there. Plus, Cathy was going to be starting work as of April 6th and I thought it would be best to visit before then. So here I am! My friend Cathy moved here with her Kiwi bf Dave and they have such a wonderful place here.