Off Yonder – Adventure Travel Stories - Seeing the world for what it is

Hills and Huts
Routeburn Track, Mount Aspiring NP, New Zealand

The Routeburn Track on the South Island of New Zealand is designated as one of the “Great Walks” in New Zealand. That means beautiful terrain, awe-inspiring views and luxury (by camping and trekking standards) style accommodation. It also means it’s guaranteed to be expensive and crowded. Ah well. It’s ultimately worthwhile sharing earth’s beauty. And it’s certainly tolerable the way the New Zealand Department of Conservation manages the number of people that come up.

The Buckly Transport shuttle picked Derek and me up right outside our hostel the same morning we called and took us from Queenstown directly to the trailhead. Not 20 meters in we crossed a span bridge over some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen. Further up the stream, pools of sunlit water glowed bright blue against the pure white of bubbly, churning water flowing into them. The stark dark shadows of trees spilled in creating a frame with the sparkling rocks around the whole scene. This was a good start.

Once in the woods the wide, well-established trail made for easy walking and allowed us to gawk at the surrounding beauty rather than where we placed our feet. An endless carpet of ferns and small lush shrubs covered the forest floor, split only by the meandering white rocky path. Criss-cross patterns of sunlight and shadows floated down from the canopy above.

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Working at the South Pole
South Pole Station, Antarctica

I was told when I applied for the job that there would be a lot of snow shoveling, especially for the first month. There was really no way for me to totally understand what that meant.

For the past week I have shoveled snow at least five hours a day. Most days it’s been eight or nine hours — my entire shift. On Thursday, after a solid nine hours of shoveling, it felt so amazing to just lay down, in all of my ECW (extreme cold weather) gear and do nothing. The risk in that is falling asleep and missing dinner which would be very bad. By about day two, my appetite picked up and I’ve been eating mounds of food at each meal. Fortunately food is part of the deal here so it’s all free (so to speak).

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Atlas Trans-Sierra Snowshoe Trek
Independence, California, United States

The Sierra has truly been blessed this year with record snow fall. So, although the weather this spring and early summer has been warm, there is still plenty of snow in the beautiful backcountry. With that in mind, some colleagues at Atlas Snow-Shoe Company came up with the wild idea to do a traditional skiing route across the Sierra-Nevada mountain range on snowshoes. While this was admittedly for our own personal fun, we could justify it as a work trip to test the snowshoes.

The result was a 45 mile trek across the breadth of the Sierra. We started just east of Independence, off Highway 395, and hiked up Symmes Creek. After 12,000 feet of vertical gain and traveling and camping for six days above 11,000 feet, we arrived at the Wolverton Ski Area in Sequoia National Park. The route is usually done on skis with a few mountaineering sections to get over the highest passes, including Milestone Col on the Great Western Divide at over 13,000 feet.

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Meeting Folks
Seoul, South Korea

I made it to the flight no worries, but would have never expected what happened next. While waiting for the plane to board, an American sitting next to me in the lobby asked me what I was carrying, pointing to my dijeridoo. So we started talking and found out we were both going to have […]

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