Local Heart, Global Soul

April 9, 2018

After A Year Of Closure SH1 Re-Opens…

Filed under: Canterbury & Region,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The morning after Himself gave us quite a scare passing out after being in a half hour in a hot tub, we set out to catch the Cook Straight ferry from Picton to Wellington.

I had re-packed our suitcases the night before and we left early in the morning.

We allowed all day for what should be a four-five hour trip but there were multiple factors to take into account.

Kiwi Daughter and I get very car-sick, so frequent stops for fresh air are a must. The jet-lag that was still affecting all of us meant our most awake hours were the early morning ones.

Last but not least, we had to take into account earthquake damage and repair from the massive Kaikoura quake of 11th November 2016.

Further up the coast this quake caused around twenty-one landslips on State Highway one, the main road that connects traffic in the South Island to that of the North (with the ferry between the two). The rail line that runs frequently by SH1 carries a huge amount of freight too, so the landslips were a serious problem. The slips were so big that State Highway 1 was closed to traffic for little over a year. All traffic in the meantime needed to take the Inland route, a journey of some nine hours.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Inland route was also full of difficult winding stretches where overtaking was impossible, a situation that quickly lead to something rather foreign to the South Island of New Zealand, traffic jams and long, long tailbacks.

Visitors who are used to three laned dual carriageways, get quite shock when they find that with the exception of Auckland city, New Zealand roads consist of one lane in each direction. There are even some bridges that are one lane only.

Traffic take turns (signs give one side priority) there is an unwritten ‘code” that if you are on the side that doesn’t have priority, and you see a car on the other side approaching, you don’t go onto the bridge unless you can complete the full length before the one with priority gets to where the bridge starts.

We were lucky that we didn’t have to tackle the Inland route (Highway 7) because SH1 had been reopened again just one week earlier. Work on the road and railway line was far from finished however, so the road was only open for limited hours, much of the construction work being now carried out at night.

We set out for Kaikoura, a sort of half-way point, and a town that has been more or less cut off for just over a year. A stop for lunch and a look around for a few souvenirs would give a small injection of cash into a town economy that had been hit hard by the forced road closure.
In in part of the coast line, the earthquake had raised the sea bed out into the air, way past the water line, the new road and railway sought to take advantage of this new land because space for the rails and road had been limited at some points of the previous highway.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 8, 2018

Drama Of The Sort I Could Do Without…

Filed under: Canterbury & Region,LIFE,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch at visiting New Zealand, and two days after our arrival we have a little “incident’. Well one of us did at least.

We had already had a busy first day, Kiwi Daughter got a mosquito bite on her ankle in Singapore which got infected, by the time we arrived in New Zealand it was looking even more swollen, red and painful.

After trying their luck in the night, at the emergency weekend clinic and then finding out that there was a likely three hour wait, Himself and Kiwi Daughter decided that they needed sleep more than the clinic and returned back at Meadowpark ready to try again in the morning.

They set off about 9;00 a.m. and only had a 40 minute wait.

Armed with antibiotics and some cream they returned, and the four of us set out for Northlands mall where Himself and I had to update our bank cards for our New Zealand account. That ended up taking close to two hours: we had to go through all sorts of administration and checks aimed at preventing money laundering, our accounts put up red flags in the system because we transfer money to NZ from our Dutch account but as far as the bank was concerned it was money from thin air and we had to account for it. Then inside the mall we got four sim cards for our phones so that kids could still log onto internet and we could still make calls without having racking up huge bills in the Netherlands.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Housework” done, we went on to the first of two family and friends visits for the day, then had a separate dinner invite in the evening, so it was a busy day, but we felt better then we expected to so we thought as far as jet-lag was concerned, it was going well.

Day two had more family and friend visits, plus the visit to the Christchurch gondola, short nap, a visit to another friend to collect a house key we would need later, and then back to Meadowpark to cook up a meal in our little unit kitchen.

When checking in I had gotten a package which gave us a half hour in the Meadowpark hot tub.

Since we had done all of our driving for the day, Himself indulged in a few glasses of wine with dinner.

We were all tired, so an hour or so later thought it would be good idea to make use of the hot tub to relax before attempting a bedtime on normal Kiwi time. Little Mr, Himself and I were the only ones interested in going, the outside temperature was 27 C  and it was just on the other side of Reception so we just went in our swimming attire and took only towels. The water in the tub was hot… at least 39  degrees and it was steamy inside the little hut that the hot tub was housed in. All was well, we chatted and laughed, when the thirty minutes was up and we got out, Himself said he felt tired. In order to keep my boot dry I sat on the bench a little part from the boys and was busy with my boot when suddenly Little Mr cried out that there was something wrong with Papa.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

He said it with total panic in his voice, so I immediately rushed over to see what was wrong. Himself was sitting on the bench with a spaced out look in his eyes, he was looking right past me and not registering my voice.

He tried to speak to me but all that came out was a strange mumble, the colour had drained out of his face and he could hardly hold himself up. I held him upright and kept talking to him in the hope that he would answer.

I knew he couldn’t be having a heart attack because he had had palpitations in recent months and had finished with an extensive set of tests and trips to a cardiologist just weeks earlier.

He’s training for a marathon and apparently has “runners heart” a condition where one chamber of the heart becomes enlarged. The cardiologist said that this condition was very common amongst people who do a lot of sport.

There was even one tiny anomaly in the first tests and they checked that further too, it turned out to be ok in the end. Himself’s face was now looking ashen, he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer and he slumped onto me. Little Mr was looking on with a face of sheer terror. I told him to go out and ask an adult to phone an ambulance. He disappeared quickly, and I kept talking to Himself, telling him that everything would be ok, and I was there. I looked nervously at the clock on the wall, I knew when we got out of the tub, Himself had been in this state for six  minutes already. The muscles in his face had now relaxed to the point that he looked twenty years older, I worried that he might be having a stroke, thoughts of deep vein thrombosis went through my head, we had after all just completed several long haul flights.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We wear compression stockings against this though. My first aid training kicked in, keep the airways open, I had a constant check on his heart, just for safeties sake. 

I couldn’t get him from his slumped sitting position on the bench to the floor, so that I could get him into the recovery position without likely dropping him, I didn’t want to give him a head injury.

It was another four long minutes before Himself stirred, he opened his eyes and looked surprised. he didn’t quite remember where he was. For a minute or two he was quite confused.

When I told him where he was he wanted to stand up and go back to the unit and was a bit surprised when I wouldn’t let him. The ambulance crew arrived at this point and the first thing he did was tell everyone he was fine.

The colour was flooding back into his face and he was starting to look normal gain. When I told him that he’d been out for a full ten minutes he was shocked, he had no idea something had happened. The ambulance pair told him he had to keep sitting and started taking his blood pressure and asking both of us a list of questions. I told them that Himself was the sole driver in the family and we needed to drive to Picton tomorrow, so I really wanted to be sure that he was safe to take the wheel. They agreed and wanted to more tests to make doubly certain he was fit.  
It turned out the Himself had simply fainted; the combination of jet-lag, a few glasses of wine, dinner an hour earlier, the hot evening, busy day and the heat of the hot tub had been combination too much and he’d flaked out.

I have never been so relieved in my life, to say Himself had given us a scare was an understatement. A short wait was required and then sit down tests followed to make 200% sure he would be ok to drive the next day. Luckily he passed everything but received strict orders to take it easy for the rest of the evening, and believe me, I watched him like a hawk to make sure he did. Needless to say he vowed to not go near a hot tub any time soon. Drama I can do, but I can do without this sort of scare. Of course, during no part of this did I take any photographs… so I’ll just put in a few of New Zealand scenery instead.

April 7, 2018

How Many Are Those Doggies In The…

Filed under: Canterbury & Region,CHRISTCHURCH,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch had been visiting the Christchurch Gondola, and were making our way back into town.

As usual I had my camera in my lap, but was baffled when Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr started instructions to “Quick, take a photo, take a photo!”

Photo? Of what?

Then they pointed out the eyes peering out of the darkness of the back of the Ute in front of us.

It took me a while to see it, so long in fact that I was then the target of “Can’t you see them? really? seriously? you really can’t see them? are you blind or something?” (Teens and pre-teens… so kind).

Then I saw them, eyes… first two, then another, and another.

I started taking photographs of the open space at the back of the Ute.

Then it happened,… a black and white snout popped out of the slit, then another snout, and another.

These dogs were in their travel box, we thought there were three but who knows, there may have been more at the back.

These look like farm breeds to me, working sheep-dogs.

Today though they were not working, just enjoying a car ride, the wind rushing by and being photographed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 6, 2018

Study Of Nature…

Filed under: Canterbury & Region,Christchurch: Gondola,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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On our way down from the top station of the Christchurch Gondola, I was interested in the textures, shapes and patterns in the rocks that we passed by. This is more a “study of nature” than anything else… enjoy!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 5, 2018

A Few “Pointers” To Find South…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The last information board I’m looking at in the top station of the Christchurch Gondola is all about the Southern Cross.

It’s a bright group of stars that all Kiwi’s learn to identify at a young age, and it’s important enough to be on both the New Zealand and Australian flags.

I was lucky to have a teacher at school who’s hobby was astronomy. I think that every kid who passed through his classes got, like us, extensive lessons on stars, field trips to local observatories and on occasion when some of the big planets were visible, night classes in the park where he would have his astronomy friends and their huge telescopes in the middle of the field, delighting kids and their parents with amazing real-time images of planets that we had only seen in books previous to that.

I not only remember it fondly, I would go so far as to say it was one of the highlights of my time at school.

Since many Kiwi kids of my era grew up “tramping” (the New Zealand term for “hiking”) in their holidays, this teacher was keen that we should all be able to navigate by the stars, so taught us how to find due South. Here at the Gondola there is also a guide to the same… so a lot of memories came flooding back when I saw this. The information board reads:

The Southern Cross. The Southern Cross is a group of stars always visible in the southern hemisphere. It consists of four bright stars in the shape of a cross and a fainter start located just below the cross bar. Although there are a number of start crosses in the night sky, the Southern Cross is the most prominent. It is able to be identified by two very bight starts called “The Pointers” that point towards the top of the cross.
How to find South. While the position of the Southern Cross changes in the night, there are various ways to use the cross to find South.
One of the more accurate methods is to:

(1) Extend a line joining the pointers. Midway along this line extend another line at a right angle to it.

(2) Extend a further line from the long axis of the Southern Cross.

(3) Where the two lines meet drop a vertical line to the horizon. This is South.

The Southern Cross is a national icon, appearing on the New Zealand flag. The Maori believed it was an anchor of a great sky canoe, while other tribes thought it was an opening in the sky that the wind blew through.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 4, 2018

A Harbour View Like No Other…

Filed under: Canterbury & Region,Christchurch: Gondola,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Looking over the other balconies of the top station of the Christchurch Gondola in New Zealand, we see the beautiful Lyttelton Harbour, with all it’s various bays. It’s a view that fills me with many memories so it brings a smile every time I see this.


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 3, 2018

Knowledge And Photos Off The Beaten Tack…

Filed under: Canterbury & Region,Christchurch: Gondola,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I sometimes quite often like to make arty photographs for no reason other than the fact that patterns, shapes, shadows or forms interest me.

When we visited the Christchurch Gondola in December 2017, I had one of these moments.

Some distance away was what I think was part of the Summit Road.

I think (but am not certain) that this part of the road has been closed since the earthquake, but I did see alone cyclist making his way up up the road.

I like the zig-zag of this road, the shadows of the terrain, the outlines of the rock.

This post is a mix of exhibits from the Top Station of the gondola for another bite-size of knowledge and my “arty’ photographs.

Speedy’s fun facts. Did you known… (1) The Bridle Path, (built 1851) was the main acess way for pioneers bringing their belongings over the Port Hills from Lyttelton to Christchurch. Horses hd to be led by the bridle to the Summit – thus the name: “The Bridle Path”. (2) Bank’s Peninsula is home to the world’s mallest dolphin! The Hector olphin is only 1.4m in length and is one of the most endangred marine mammals in the world.

(3) Bank’s Peninsula was nce an island! 12 million yearsago the landmass of bank’ peninsular was born via a series of volcanic eruptions. (4) In 1838 Jan-Francois Langlois 9a frenchman0 tried to purchas Banks Peninsula fom local Maori. he paid a deposit of 2 cloaks, 6 pair of trousers, 12 hats, 2 pairs of shoes, some pistols, axes and 2 shirts.
(5) The highest point of Bank’s Peninsula is Mt. Herbert standing at 919m above sea level. The Gondola Top Station sits only 500m above sea level, just over half the height of Mt. Herbert!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 2, 2018

“The Legends of Maui.”

Filed under: Canterbury & Region,Christchurch Earthquake,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The top station of the Christchurch gondola in New Zealand also has information boards about New Zealand’s Maori history: “The Legends of Maui; “New Zealand is rich in Maori traditions and tales of the land. The legends of Maui are known far and wide throughout Polynesia, having been passed down from generation to generation.

Maui was a demi-god (half man, half god) whose parents belonged to the family of supernatural beings. He had extrordinary powers and his exploits were revered amongst Maori. Here we have noted three of his more remarkable achievments.

“How Maui fished up the North island”. ” Maui was a demi-god, who lived in Hawaiiki. He possessed magical powers and was much better at everything than hhis four jealous foster brothers.

One day he hid in the bottom of his brothers’ waka (boat) so that he could go out fishing with them. Once they were far out at sea, Maui was discovered by his brothers. The brothers started fishing but were very angry with Maui and refused to give him any bait.

Undeterred, Maui took out his magic fishing hook which was made fom the jawbone of his ancestor. He whirled the hook up high above his head and flung it out into the ocean. After a while he felt a strong tug on the line, much too strong for any ordinary fish.

After much straining and pulling, up surfaced Te Ika a Maui (the fish of Maui), known today as the North Island of New Zealand. Maui left to retrieve his magic fish hook from the fish’s mouth and told his brothers not to touch his catch while he was gone. The surface was smooth and flat and Maui did not want it damaged.

However, as soon as Maui left his brothers began to argue about the possession of this new land. They took out their weapons and began pounding way at the catch. The blows on the land created the many mountain and valleys of the North island today. The South Island is known as Te Waka a Maui (the boat of Maui) and Stewart Island, which lies at the bottom of the South Island, is known a Te Punga Maui (Maui’s anchor).”

“How Maui tamed the sun’. ‘ Maui often heard his bothers talk about how there was not enough sunlight during the day. There was never enough time to complete their village duties, go hunting and fishing. Maui decided he would solve their problem and announced, ‘I will tame the sun”. “Maui, don’t be so ridiculous!” they replied. “No one can tame the Sun. He’s far too big and powerful”. But Maui said, “I will show you how to make a strong net, one powerful enough to capture the sun.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Maui showed them how to plait flax into thick, strong ropes and after many hours they had finally made a net large enough to catch and hold the sun. Maui, equipped with his magic jawbone, set off with his brothers to find the Sun’s resting place in the East. After several days they found the cave from which the sun rose each day, and quickly set to work covering the entrance with their net.

Maui and his brother hid on each side of the cave holding long ropes attached to the net. Shaking with fear, they saw the first glimmer of light and felt the scorching heat from the Sun’s ray’s as it rose from the cave. Suddenly they heard a shout from Maui, “Pull! Pull the ropes as hard as you can”.

The net felt like fell like a huge noose over the Sun and they pulled and strained as hard as they could so that the Sun would not escape. The Sun struggled and yelled at being held captive. Maui ran towards it with his magic jawbone and attacked the Sun who screamed out in agony. “Why are you trying to kill me?” Maui answered, ” You go too fast across the sky so we are unable to complete our daily chores. If we release you, will you promise to slow your journey down?’

The Sun reluctantly agreed and Maui told his brothers to let the ropes go. They watched as the Sun, slowly and stiffly, began to lift into the sky. To this day, the Sun travels aacross the sky at a very slow pace, giving us more hours of sunlight than it did many years ago.

“How Maui discovered the secret of Fire”. “One evening as Maui lay down beside his fire, he realised that he had no idea how the fire wa made. each day the villagers would light new fires with flames from the old ones. Maui decided he must find out and under the cover of night, he quietly extinguished all the fires in the world, then waited to see what would happen next.

In the morning people were furious with Maui, they orderd him to visit Mahuika (the fire-goddess) and beg her to give fire to the world again.
Maui found Mahuika many miles away in a dark cave at the base of a steaming volcano. he cries, ” The fires of the world have been extinguished, I have come to ask you for fire”. Mahuika drew out her hands and on the tip of each finger burned a flame.

She plucked one of her fingernails and gave it to Maui. “Be careful with this flame Maui, it is tapu (sacred)” she said. As Maui left with the flame he wondered what would happen if Mahuika had no fire left, how would she make more. Maui devised a cunning plan and dropped his magic flame into a nearby stream where it hissed and disappeared.

Maui returned to Mahuikas’ cave and asked for another flame. He repeated this performance, each time using different excuses for why the flame had expired. Finally when only one nail was left the old lady became very angry. “No more Maui!” she cried. Mahuika erupted into flames and threw her last nail into the high branches of a Kaikomako tree.

Maui fled from the blaze and waited for the flames to die down. Later Maui returned to the Kaikomako tree and snapped off some of it’s branches, tucking them into his belt to take home.’I think Mahuika’s last flame is hiding in this Kaikomako wood” Maui told his people. he took a piece of hard wood and rubbed the Kaikomako branch against it. Maui repeated this over and over until finally a wisp of smoke and flame burst forth. The village people were overjoyed as they never had to worry about fire going out again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 1, 2018

History of Banks Peninsular.

Filed under: Canterbury & Region,Christchurch: Gondola,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next information board at Christchurch’s gondola is all about the history of the area.

The map that goes with this board gives a really good idea of how New Zealand’s Banks Peninsular was formed and how it looks today.

The gondola sits on the very edge of one of two extinct volcanoes, both of which had breaches in their rims in one spot which turned them into natural harbours.

The gondola gives a good view of Lyttelton Harbour but Akaroa harbour faces a completely different direction so is not visible from this side of Lyttleton harbour, or indeed from most of Lyttelton harbour. The map makes it clear why this is so.

History of Banks Peninsular.

Banks Peninsula is a spectacular landscape, covering approximately 450 square miles and comprised of extinct volcano whose craters for the Harbours of Lyttelton and Akaroa. The first known inhabitants of this area were the Maori people During the 17th century the Ngai Tahu people established fortified pa (villages). On 16th February 1770, explorer Captain James Cook, sighted the Peninsula. he mistakenly concluded it was an island and nmed the feature in honour of the Endeavour’s botinist, Joseph Banks.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During the 1830’s Banks Peninsula became a European whaling centre and was frequently visited by the French, American and British deep-sea whalers.

Trade was established between the Europeans and the Maori. The local native people however, succumbed in large numbers to disease and inter-tribal warfare, particularly from raids of Te Rauparaha, chief of the North Island tribe, Ngati Toa.

Many remember Te Rauparaha as the author of the haka ” Ka mate, ka mate”. In 1838 Captain Langlois, a French whaler, decided Akaroa would make a good French settlement and “purchased” the Peninsula in a dubious land deal with local Maori.

He returned to France and set sail for New Zaland with an advance guard of French settlers. They arrived in August 1840 to find that British sovereignty had already been proclaimed over the whole of New Zealand, including the South Island. All hopes of a French colony taking shape were therefore destroyed. Meanwhile British settlers were increasing rapidly and numerous small settlements were founded. Akaroa was quickly established as the first planned township in the South Island, with the South Island’s first post office, police force, magistrates and customs house. Since the 1850’s, Lyttelton and then Christchurch outgrew Akaroa. Over the years Akaroa has maintained many French influences and is now a popular holiday resort.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 31, 2018

Information If Only we Could See It…

Filed under: Canterbury & Region,Christchurch: Gondola,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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The gondola in Christchurch New Zealand has information boards on the outside balconies that name some of the important places that can be seen from up here. On the Christchurch city side of the view I tried to match up photographs with the information boards. The report for today was changeable weather, a weather front meant to roll in this evening was moving faster than expected so the Alps are now shrouded in cloud. The day on this side of the mountains is still warm and hazy, the biggest thing is the wind: we barely felt it down below, but up here it’s buffeting us from all angles. I use the zoom on the camera as much as possible, wringing out as much detail from the landscape below as I can manage.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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