Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A funny thing happened on our way to Milford Sound

The vacation recount continues.

Milford Sound is notoriously difficult to visit. Countless people are told that their scheduled flights to visit this amazing site are canceled. Flights are canceled on seemingly beautiful days. So I guess it's not all that different from US air travel. Except the flight companies do not ask you to pay in advance due to the extreme iffy-ness of the schedule.

So we were so excited when we inquired about our flight and we were told to head over to the airport. Milford Sound is supposed to be amazing, and I could not wait to see it. We arrived with our camera, spent some time wondering if the tiny plane we were flying was really safe and convinced ourselves it would be fine because this company was recommended by our friends, Anna Kate and Jaime.

We approached the plane, and the pilot motioned to the backseat. "Sit in the back on the way out," the pilot directed "you won't have a very good view on the way out, but we'll let you sit in the front on the way back." We complied. We're very obedient. And we trusted this guy. We hopped in the back seat and held on tight as we took off.

Alex in the back seat

This is what most of my pictures looked like before I cropped them.

The flight over Lake Wanaka was pretty.

And the area surrounding the lake and the mountains were gorgeous.

I couldn't wait to see the views from the front seat. Only that wasn't meant to be. About 20 minutes into our flight, we learned that a mass of clouds moved down into the valley we planned to fly through.

Stupid clouds!

We had to turn around. Total bust, but the pilot did take us on a trip around Mount Aspiring (the tallest mountain in New Zealand outside of the Mount Cook/Aoraki region). It was pretty. We saw some of it.

Oh well, we'll just have to go back...

Up tomorrow - instead of flying to Milford Sound, we hike (tramp?) the Diamond Lake Loop. And guess what? It's beautiful.

PS - This was probably the most difficult/annoying thing we had to deal with on our trip. So yeah, it was a pretty amazing trip.

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