Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dunedin: Campsites, "Caves," and Albatross

    Heading further south down the coast we spent the next couple of days traveling back and forth between a campsite called Trotters Gorge and Dunedin.  Speed was taking over my mind.  Speed and distance.   How was it possible to travel so fast, for so long? I felt like every second in the van was robbing me.  I felt like I was seeing in blurs.  Everything we passed was a fraction of an image at best and I wasn't feeling anything. I wasn't seeing anything.  I was missing it all.  I felt like the last player in a game of "crack the whip", being flung from place to place.  Getting in the van, out of the van, in the van, out of the van, whiz, zip, out of the van, in the van, pick some music, poor attempts at conversation because my mind couldn't focus on anything.  Everything was happening so fast, and it was all just too much.  

  We would drive into a town, and rather than having the time to immerse myself in buildings and street names and funny little nuances found along the street, I had just enough time to navigate directions to a store, or destination, then we would be there, getting out of the van.

  I am sure of the fact that I was not the best company.  I apologized often for my erratic behavior, but it was all just much too much, for much too long.  I wanted to be on my feet again.  I wanted to stroll through the streets, and smile at children as I passed, having watched them living out the thoughts in their heads, the greatest thespians of life.  I wanted to eaves drop snippets of conversations because conversations are thoughts and I revel in the windows people open to let light into their minds.  I wondered what the blurry edged scenery we flew past would feel like under my boots, and what it smelled like when removed from the roadway.  I missed the bleating of sheep and the curious stares of cows.  I couldn't hear the birds from the cabin of the van.  I had been removed from my comforts, and I was feeling trapped.

  We drove between the campsite and Dunedin for 2 days like madmen, running errands, stocking up on supplies, stealing showers from hostels and wifi from the library, while learning to read each others habits and moods.  It was a full throttle learning experience and I needed to once again evaluate where I was.  This was the next step of my journey, and I was not prepared to travel at such speeds, both physically and emotionally, yet they were happening, so I had to find ways, and tricks to adjust myself. My surroundings were not the issue, my mental state was, and I was holding onto the manner of travel I had been doing for the past several months like a child grips its blanky before it's thrown into the monstrosity called a washing machine, with an inner terror that it might never be seen again.  Life is nothing but a string of change and adjustment, it's the grace with which you handle those changes that exemplifies your character.  I was being a huge baby.  I am not proud of it, but it certainly was a learning experience.  So it may have taken a few days, but eventually I changed the vantage point from which to view this new way of travel, and thanks to Jeff and his immense patience with me, we managed through it, and had a good time…albeit, between panic attacks here and there. Like I said, life is a process.

  Trotter's Gorge was a campsite in thick bush setting amid limestone rock formations jutting out of mountain edges.  Just a 10 minute drive off the main highway and you could pretend you were lightyears from civilization.

  A walking trail of two connecting riverside tracks lead you to what they referred to as "caves," but from the vantage of an Idaho woman, they were nothing more than indentations in a rock face, either that or we somehow missed them completely.


I was hoping to find bats or glowworms, but I guess crickets will dew…hahaha…get it? Dew!!!
Try not to laugh, I dare ya.
  The Dunedin Railway Station is the most commonly visited sight in Dunedin, and I must say it was gorgeous both inside and out.  Considered a historic sight the station was opened in 1906.  New Zealand is so newly a westernized country, even more so than the US.  It's interesting, what is considered to be historic is at most about 150 years old.

  My favorite part of the architectural design were the sculptures surrounding the cupola of the clock tower.  Of course.  Blah, blah, blah, art nerd alert!  I know, I know.  BUT, if you look closely you will see something much more magical than you might have ever expected. The devil is in the details here.

  See it yet?

  Posted on either side of the four crests are two animals. One is a lion, of course. So regal, brilliant and strong. The other is a unicorn….A UNICORN!!!!!!! La la la!!! A unicorn, a unicorn :)

Unicorns, making everything they touch magical.  Forever and always.
    While in Dunedin for the day we drove along a seaside road, heading off storm clouds and watching the water wave across the asphalt, as we made our way toward a nearby albatross colony.

Looking back toward the city, a break in the clouds.

   We watched gulls, and albatross play in the cliff colliding wind, seaweed tumbling in the surf below.

The only solid shot I got of an albatross in flight. Massive beautiful pilots.

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