Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pole, Pole

Day 62
Wanaka to Queenstown via Crown Range
Time: 5:23:53
Distance: 72.75 k
Avg Speed: 13.4 kph
Terrain: Rolling/Crown Range Summit(1074m)
Location: 45 1 43.9 S, 168 38 37.2 E

In Swahili “pole, pole” means “slow, slow”. We heard the term frequently from our Kilimanjaro guides early this year. It was the best way to climb the mountain. Today I thought of those words as I crept up to the Crown Range Summit on my bike. I wasn’t making myself go slow – I was going as fast as I could. As I turned the pedals I realized that I’ve never pedaled slower in my life. Then I remembered climbing in Africa...”pole, pole”.
Today we rode the Crown Range Road from Wanaka to Queenstown. The road has the honor of being the highest sealed road in New Zealand. First gravel and now asphalt, this route has seen plenty of history in its day. In the late 1800s the pass saw a variety of activities including livestock drives, gold seekers and tourists in horse drawn wagons. Today the road is a major tourist route which connects the communities of Wanaka and Queenstown.
We had lunch at the summit and bundled up for the winding ride down. We had awesome views of Lake Wakitipu, Queenstown and the surrounding mountains.
We’ll be in Queenstown and the surrounding area for awhile. We’re planning to go tramping (trekking) for 4-5 days. It’s one of the things we really wanted to do in New Zealand. We’ll spend tomorrow getting our huts tickets and booking a shuttle to take us to the beginning of the track (trail).Luckily, we can store our gear for the days we’re gone and travel a bit lighter.

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