FiNZ 39 – Hitchhiking, Caving, Waterfalls, and BUSKERS! oh my

Most weekends, if we don’t have a big trip planned in advance, our days end up being pretty spontaneous or really just based on the weather. We’ve been waiting for a warm weekend day to try out “Cave Stream.” Trudging through water in a damp cave just didn’t seem enjoyable all winter or spring. Therefore, Saturday was the day! After a run we hoped in the car and drove west. Well…first we picked up a hitchhiker and then all of us drove west. Ever since we felt guilty about plowing by three ladies on the side of the road a few months ago Keith and I agreed we would pick up the next hitchhiker we saw (as long as they didn’t look too crazy). I would NEVER do this in the U.S. In New Zealand hitchhiking is just how people travel, it’s a way of life or a right of passage for the international traveler!

So our new friend Ryan hoped in the car and we had a good hour-long conversation about his homeland of the Netherlands, how he took a year off of teaching high school chemistry to travel the world with his girlfriend, and how he was heading into the woods of Arthur’s Pass for 2 weeks of intense backpacking before his girlfriend arrived to do some lighter hiking. Quite enjoyable!

01

West Coast Road Views

We pulled into the cave stream reserve and sent Ryan on his way. There were a ton of people parked in the parking lot…of course, per usual, Keith and I walked to the mouth of the cave and no one was to be seen. I’m pretty sure tourists show up and take a look at the cave and don’t dare to enter…or are just not prepared with headlamps…or don’t think they’ll get so wet…or are scared away by the scary DOC signage.

02

Cave elevation

Enough of my coworkers have raved about cave stream that we were pretty prepared. I wore spandex, Keith wore a bathing suit, we both wore sneakers (highly recommended!), and we both brought a whole lot of light sources.

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At the cave entrance

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Beginning the walk

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Navigating

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Extreme caver

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Plowing through the water

A couple of parts of the cave were waist deep, but otherwise we were trudging around in flowing water about ankle or knee-deep.

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Some deep parts

I’m not a huge lover of confined spaces, but this was pretty cool. After the 500 m cave jaunt, I realized I would definitely do this again, or at least take more friends to come enjoy!

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Standing in water! ahh!

The end was the diciest part–you have to climb up 3 m to get out. Luckily, the DOC helped us out by anchoring in some ladder steps and providing a chain and a little step so one can crawl along the ledge (see the lady in pink below). I would not recommend doing it backwards like the photo below, but to each their own!

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The climb out

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Success!

Afterwards the day was still young, it was still light out, so why not keep driving to Arthur’s Pass? Neither of us had done the short hike to Devils Punchbowl waterfall, so why not?

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Arthur’s Pass – Devils Punchbowl Waterfall

It was a pretty easy/quick hike (although a lot of steps to climb) for an amazing view.

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The money shot

On Sunday we decided to check out the World Buskers Festival! Know what a busker is? Neither did I, but basically its a fancy word for a street performer. Famous street performers travel in from all over the world to perform in Christchurch for 10 full days. It has been a pretty fun time thus far! On Sunday we saw a Minnesotan juggle a knife and fire while riding a 12′ tall unicycle, a man juggle 5 basketballs, and a guy oddly throw multiple rubber bands around his face (talk about weird!).

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Basketball Jones, Rubber Band Boy, and Pro Unicycle

Last night a few colleagues and us went to see the nightly buskers comedy festival. “Donations” were $10 each and it was such a funny night. The show included 3 comedians and a hilarious MC. We all left with a pretty permanent smile – a great way to end hump day.

On to this weekend where the weather is looking good once again!

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