Weekend Warrior

Robert Latta
March 22, 2013

A few weeks ago when I was talking to my parents via skype, my Dad pulled out an old Mark Twain quote.

“Never let school interfere with your education,” he said.

This may as well be my motto until June.  Not that the difference in work load between New Zealand and the U.S. hasn’t helped me do a lot of cool stuff on the weekends.

Here are some of my recent weekend expeditions.

1. Over the weekend before classes started, a few of my new IES friends and I took a popular trip to Mt. Cook/Aoraki National Park.  For our first backpacking trip in the country, it really set the bar high.  We stayed up at one of the many backcountry huts in New Zealand, Mueller Hut for two nights.  It had great views of both Mt. Sefton and Mt. Cook/Aoraki itself.  The hut is situated right next to Mt. Olivier, the first mountain that N.Z. native and the first Everest summiter, Sir Edmund Hillary ever climbed.

Joe, Sarah, and Trevor on the top of Mt. Olivier

Mt. Cook, or Aoraki which means “cloud piercer” in Maori, from the scree field upon which Mueller hut stands.

Deanna in front of Mt. Sefton.

Hooker Lake, 2 degrees Celsius (about 35 F).

2. Two weeks later, the same group of us, plus 4 others went up to Nelson Lakes National Park where we stayed next to tranquil Angelus Lake.  Joe, Sarah, Deanna, and I did some of our first camping there.  We also took a day hike up to Angelus Peak which took a while because the hill we climbed up was steep and prone to rock slides.  The view from the top, however, could only be described as epic.  It was definitely worth the climb.

Robert’s Ridge Trail

Erin and Dan on the way up to Angelus Peak.

Joe and his insane photogeneity atop Angelus Peak.

Angelus Lake, Peak and Hut from our campsite.

Alayna, without getting her feet wet.

3.  The next weekend a friend of mine from home, Erik, visited.  He and a bunch of us took to the West Coast for the annual Wildfood’s Festival in Hokitika.  There we dressed up in towels as if we had just gotten out of the shower.  It may have been the best impromptu, $10 dollar costume ever.  At the festival, we ate a bunch of bugs including live hu hu grubs (beetle larva) and grasshoppers, kangaroo, paua tits (a shellfish, similar to a large oyster), and ram’s testicles which were disguised under the alias “mounain oysters”.  It was a very “educational” event for the taste buds, as well as just one big costume party.


Grasshoppers: a bit crunchy, a bit chewy, a bit creamy. Photo cred: Allie

4. Last weekend, five of us took the long, eight hour trip down to Fiordland National Park.  Sarah, Trevor and I did the three day Routeburn Track, which is one of the Great Walks, nine of the most scenic trails in the country.

photo cred: Trevor


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Robert Latta

<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Robbie Latta and I am a junior studying civil engineering at Purdue University in lovely West Lafayette, Indiana. I am also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity on campus. I like to spend time outside, bike, play hockey when I am home in Minnesota, write, and spend time with my friends. I am coming to New Zealand to explore the Kiwi lifestyle and have some fun!</span></div>

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