Posted by: Josh Lokken | January 4, 2012

Christmas with the Kiwis

I woke up on Christmas morning with a huge present – a 6 foot 3 inch, slender, blonde German guy laying right next to me. Wait…that sounds a bit weird. Let me start over.

I decided to take a trip. After working a factory job which made me empathize with people who have gone postal, I gladly accepted the three week holiday break. 30 minutes of packing and a quick trip to the supermarket later, and I was off. (Oh the bizarreness of fitting your entire life into a single bag.)

The first week was very relaxed as I meandered down the West Coast stopping at whatever looked interesting. With some of the most scenic driving in New Zealand, it was easy to roll down the windows, put on my Ray-bans, look out over the Tasman Sea and forget that I drove a 20 year old car with a Kelly Blue Book value of around $500.

Eventually I met up with my very straight and heterosexual friend, (just avoiding confusion) where we arranged a trip through the Mount Aspiring National Park backcountry. And so, fueled by a hearty diet of instant noodles and rice, for five days we wheezed and ached our way up 6,000 foot climbs only to realize we had to go back down.

If the landscape from Avatar collided with Jurassic Park and somehow added snow, Mount Aspiring National Park would be the result. 9,000 ft mountains capped with glaciers, creeks billowing off cliff edges into beech forests and deep jagged valleys make for a very dramatic landscape. Escaping the Canon carrying tourists and parades of camper vans, it was both an exhausting and rewarding trip. A photo album from the trip, with a few other New Zealand randoms, can be seen here.

So there it is, my very unorthodox Christmas for 2011. Many people in New Zealand celebrate the holiday by going to the beach wearing a Santa hat. I decided to sleep in a tent with a guy who hadn’t showered in days. Perhaps I should rethink my priorities. On second thought, I’d probably do it again.


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