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Continental Divide Trail 2011 close to 3000 miles through new mexico, colorado, wyoming and montana. May 1 start date.

Abel Tasman National Park/Nelson

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 22 March 2008 | Views [909]

I arrived in Nelson on St. Patricks Day and set up my bivy in a funky  hostel just before sundown. The hostel serves chocolate pudding and ice cream for free every night. If that's not incentive enough to stay there, they also have an herb garden for our personal use and they recycle, which is rare for a hostel unfortunately. The next day (March 18) I set out on my 4-day walk along the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk, one of the 9 Great Walks. I chose to tent it this time, since Great Walks huts are so expensive. The track is well-benched, relatively flat, and passes through green rainforsts along gorgeous white-sand/clear blue water beaches. However, the downside is that it is crowded and easily accessible. One can reach almost any of the dozens of coves, bays and beaches by kayak, boat, water taxi, day-hikes, tramps, busses and occasionally helicopters. Yes, I witnessed a family landing on one of the beaches in a helicopter. There are even resorts and small communities in some of the "backcountry" areas. I found this to be bothersome, yet it was spectacular coastline and I'm glad I did it. The first two nights were in crowded campgrounds but the last night I went to a beach where hardly anyone goes and it was worth the previous days of helicopters and water taxis. I had a beach nearly to myself with penguins, seals, and of course, sandflies. Another downside to the Abel Tasman beaches are the sandflies. They are aggressive and bite like mosquitoes. I managed to take a few nice swims desptite them but it wouldn't be fun to spend much time on the beaches. y favorite moment of the trip was when I crossed an estuary that can only be crossed during the two hours before or after low tide. Otherwise you'd have to swim. I read the tide chart wrong of course so when I arrived I wondered why no one else was crossing. The estuary is half a mile across and there seemed to be a lot of water, but I went for it anyway. About 1/4 of the way there I was up to my waist in seawater and had to pass back. A french man told me low tide was actually an hour later than I had thought. So I waited and sure enough, an hour later several dozen of us all crossed at the same time from either side. It was funny watching all the trampers crossing. I laughed. If I ever walked the Abel Tasman again, I'd spend my time on the northern bit where there are hardly any people and I'd stay several days. It is meant to be a relaxing trip but I tried to squeeze it into only a few days.

Today I am back in Nelson and just came from the famous Nelson Saturday Market. I bought lots of organic veggies and a tub of organic peanut butter for my coming tramps. I could spend a couple of months here in Nelson--there are dozens of tracks, but I am forcing myself to continue south because there are even more spectacular tramps in the southern alps. My goal is to make it to Stewart Island by mid may. I am finding it difficult to rush and skip some tracks, but winter is coming so I must do as much tramping as possible before the snows come. I met a few Israelis and an Australian couple last night and we talked about all of the killer wildlife in Australia. I'd like to go there too, but we shall see! This is a special side of the world and I feel I could spend a long time here. I haven't been able to add pictures but I will try to soon! Tomorrow (Easter) I head to Nelson Lakes National Park for a 10-day tramp!

view from one of the beaches

view from one of the beaches

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