The Twin Paradox of Traveling New Zealand: Part 1

Emily Renne
April 2, 2015

First things first… I will shamefully admit I haven’t updated this blog in over three weeks.  Here is my intelligent attempt at creating an explanation/excuse for this.

Let’s first learn some physics.

Twin Paradox Noun Physics

1. The apparent paradox arising from relativity theory that if one of a pair of twins makes a long journey at near the speed of light and then returns, he or she will have aged less than the twin who remains behind.

The Twin Paradox of Travelling New Zealand Noun made-up jargon

1. Living in New Zealand gives one the power of being extremely busy due to travelling, school, and other activities and this is my scientific explanation for why it seems like its been forever since I’ve updated this blog.

And since I’ve been travelling at the speed of light, one only thinks I’ve been away from this blog for a really long time but in reality its all in your head.   

A few really spectacular events have happened since “Kaikoura Kraziness”.

  1. My trip to Mount Cook/Lake Tekapo
  2. I passed my first Science test I’ve taken since high school 
  3. I completed MY FIRST GREAT WALK on the spectacular Kepler Track.

Part 1 of the Twin Paradox of Travelling New Zealand highlights my trip to Mount Cook, which consisted of a two night camping trip in the midst of New Zealand’s breathtaking Southern Alps.  While no one in my group actually climbed Mount Cook due to the fact it’s a Mountaineering trip, a remarkable woman named Freda Du Faur did in the early 20th century.

While many others have also accomplished this feat, and many others have unfortunately passed while attempting to accomplish this feat, Freda was the first woman to successfully make it to the summit of Mount Cook.  In a skirt.  This is some intense climbing for even expert climbers with modern day gear and guides.  So quick shout to Freda for being everything I aspire to be. 

While exploring the Mount Cook National Park, my friends and I climbed the Mueller Hut Track.  This took us up 2200 steps of stairs and we were greeted afterwards by a lovely 75 degree-ish incline of fallen rock and terrain for the next 2 hours.   It was breathtaking in the most literal and figurative way possible (by that I mean my breath was taken away for multiple reasons, good and bad). 

"Trekking Redefined" (Don't mind our all-too-serious Star Trek faces)

After the bulk of this intense trek comes a ridge, and I may or may not have shed a quick tear as I crossed over this.  Not because of the pain finally hitting my body, but because of things like this. 

(Don't forget to celebrate your achievement with a snowball fight at the top)

I decided to climb to the next sort of “peak”, and here I met one of the park rangers, who encouraged me to kiss a rock and add it to the pile of rocks kissed by other previous trampers.  I did so gladly. 

The alpine views I witnessed that day were far more than impressive, but I wish I was able to capture the beauty of the stars that night as well.  Unfortunately, iPhone and GoPro cameras were unable to achieve this. 

Highpoints of our last day in the Park included a final trek to the glacial pool that lies below Mount Cook.  I personally did nothing more than wade up to my sore calves in the pool, but a few of the more daring members of my group full out swam in this freezing lake.  

Doesn't that look like a smashing pool to take a dip in?

Doesn't that look like a smashing pool to take a dip in?

And to leave y’all with some words of wisdom, I compiled a list of realizations you might find interesting/beneficial that I came across during this trip. 

Practical things I learned:

  1.  Cuddling is good when it’s freezing.
  2. Invest in a proper sleeping bag and/or sleeping pad (both would be great).  You'll thank yourself when you don't wake up in the middle of the night from being painfully cold.
  3. Meals = peanut butter
  4. Don’t expect to sleep much while tent camping.  Adrenaline will get you through whatever you have to do the next day.
  5. Don’t ask the bus driver any questions, stupid or relevant.  He will throw an unnecessary hissy fit. 

Other things:

  1. Mountains are deceiving…. AKA when you think you’re almost to the top it’s really just cause it’s a tall mountain and, well… you’re not almost to the top.
  2. Take risks.  Walk on unmarked trails. Climb to the next ridge.  But don’t be (too )stupid.
  3. Coming home to your wonderful flatmates makes you feel warm and tingly and yes I hate myself for sounding so corny but it’s true.
  4. Stargazing with friends is one of those wonderful overlooked things in life.  And stargazing with yourself and your thoughts is one of those wonderful and even more overlooked things in life.  
  5. Ridges are cool because you can’t see over them.  And when you do, it’s often a pleasant surprise well worth climbing to the top for.  
  6. Kiss a rock at the summit.
  7. Take your time and enjoy the view.  Hiking is not a race.  In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

P.S. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Twin Paradox of Travelling New Zealand, which details my 3-day walk amongst the clouds on the Kepler Track!

Keep Happy,


Emily Renne

<p>A native of Syracuse, NY, (US) Emily is currently pursuing her B.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications with Minors in Art and Honors. A curious explorer and outdoors lover, Emily&#39;s spontaneity and passions will one day lead her to all ends of the Earth. &nbsp;Witty author, candid photo snapper, and avid dreamer, Emily plans to pursue a career &nbsp;in the fields of advertising and/or design. &nbsp;</p>

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