The starting point for our trip over the Southern Alps in a helicopter, is from the front lawn at Blanket Bay. After a cup of tea and cakes in the grand room we walked out towards the grassy knoll on a still, warm, autumn day, with some high wispy cirrus above the blue. I was excited and every now and again had a deep breath which filled my insides with smiles.
This is our helicopter down by a small alpine lake with an island in the centre. So quiet - like an empty amphitheatre. We had time to walk to where the lake spilled out and look over the cliff. There were alpine plants, delicate and small, growing in crannies, we tried not to disturb anything. Amazing that one can get to these places and see what it's like, just amazing.
Ruby Beach on the West Coast, where we made the only footprints there were. The midges and sandflies discovered me and I breathed through my nose getting ready to snort.
Here are the four who travelled together, taken by the pilot for the record. It was icy and I felt some apprehension that we would all slide off, I did not venture far from the helicopter, how that would have saved me I just don't know.
Our flight tried to avoid travelling over the tramping tracks but we saw one of the huts on the Hollyford Route. The Milford Track was due to close at the end of the week.
What a difference a bird's eye view makes to the concepts in the mind. The Dart winding down to Lake Whakatipu.
The delta was fascinating, I wanted to be down there on the ground, and in the air, looking over both at the same time. To hear the pebbles rattling and see the half submerged stones changing colour at the waterline, to peer right into the acqua of the water, wanting more intensity, to understand the patterns of the braiding, working out how and why. I shake my head in awe even now.