Let me preface this post with a warning that it will very likely be full of spelling & grammatical errors, and perhaps wander off at times. I’m not inebriated in any way, but I don’t think I’ve ever been colder in my life. My hands are struggling to move around the keyboard, and my mind doesn’t feel particularly sharp. I’m currently camped at the mouth of the Hooker Valley, which leads on to Mount Cook. Outside my window is a large glacier, and the bottle of water on my table has already started to freeze. It’s fucking cold.
Today started off in Tekapo, where I got up a bit earlier than I have in recent mornings to watch the sun rise. I’m really glad I did, because it was possibly the best of the trip so far.
I won’t spend too much time on the van situation today (there’s better things coming), aside from to say Gerty lives; but has a cork shoved in her to stop leaking. That sounds awful, but basically all the mechanic could do to help me was whack a cork in, and tell me to sort it out in Queenstown.
With Gerty plugged up, I decided to stick to my original plan - and head to Mount Cook. I wasn’t expecting to do the Hooker Valley walk today, as it was incredibly cloudy over Lake Pukaki on the drive up. The further I ventured along though, the clearer the skies became. It looked like today would be the day!
Once I’d finally made it to the Hooker Valley, I settled down, packed my cameras away and decided to wait for the sun to set behind one of the mountains. It’s essentially the first shot I’ve “planned” on this trip. Those were two of the most peaceful hours of my life. For the entire time, all I did was sit, watch and listen. No distractions, just me enjoying the mountain. It was so quiet, I could even hear the glacier in the next valley shifting from time to time.
Eventually the sun did set behind the mountain though, and my plan paid off.
I daresay it’s one of my favourite pictures to date. Not so much for any single aspect of the image itself - but because of the patience involved in taking it, and the experience of waiting in that valley for those two hours.
Just before I was about to post this a few hours ago, I quickly thought - "I'm in a dark sky reserve, I better try and get some star photos". Oh holy shit am I glad I did. Tonight I've checked another thing off my bucket list - The Southern Lights.