Team RailRiders member and photographer Crystal Brindle is currently down in Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand, working as a Hut Warden for the NZ Department of Conservation. Due to her 8-day on, 8-day off schedule, Crystal has been lucky enough to travel around to some of the country’s most beautiful spots, capturing them for us back home to drool over. This truly spectacular country is captured in its full essence by Crystal’s lens. For Part 1 of Crystal’s NZ Photojournal, click HERE. You can find all of Crystal’s photos for sale on her website, www.inpursuitofthewild.com
“Evening calm at Adelaide Tarn deep in the heart of Kahurangi National Park
After a warm day broken by periods of thick fog I was glad to see the sunset clearly illuminate the peaks surrounding Adelaide Tarn. Only thirty minutes before taking this photo fog was spilling through the window of the hut and the basin was completely hidden in a veil of thick white. The clouds lifted just in time for sunset and then rolled back in. I included the small hut in the photo because the scene so accurately captures classic New Zealand tramping and the extensive hut system that dominates the backcountry. This hut was the first “basic” hut I’ve stayed in and certainly has its own character.
Making it to this spot was quite the adventure! We hiked in thick fog and oppressive humidity to Boulder Lake and arrived just as the clouds lifted slightly to reveal the hut on the far side of the lake. We went for a dip in a perfect swimming hole beneath a picturesque waterfall before settling in for the night. The next day we bashed our way through tussock and forest to the scrubby ridge leading to Adelaide Tarn. The first view of the Adelaide Tarn basin framed by the rugged Dragon’s Teeth is a beautiful sight to behold. After spending time at the tarn we climbed up to the summits of Trident and Mount Douglas and waited for a view of the surrounding mountains on the tops that appeared to be islands in a sea of clouds. What a great experience in what is possibly the most beautiful part of the park!”
“Quick iPhone shot from a fabulous sunrise this morning over Golden Bay as seen from my house. If only I had time to grab my camera! Hopefully it’s a good sign of things to come – I’m off to Nelson Lakes to photograph Lake Angelus!”
“Brooding storm over Angelus Hut in Nelson Lakes National Park
Although I didn’t get the light I was hoping for at sunrise or sunset, I still want to share this photo to give a glimpse at where I spent my weekend. I traveled to Nelson Lakes National Park for this first time this weekend and embarked on a two night, three day journey in the mountains. I took a co-worker’s advice and hiked in 24.3 km (or 15 miles) on the first day along the shores of Lake Rotoiti to the small Hopeless Hut in a narrow valley surrounded by towering peaks. Despite the name I found the hut to be very pleasant and enjoyed being tucked into the hillside for the night. I covered the off-trail section of my trip the following day over scree slopes, above incredibly clear alpine tarns, and past gushing waterfalls to Sunset Saddle. As is often the case with my “tramping” adventures in New Zealand – I didn’t see another person for 24 hours.
I climbed to the summit of Angelus Peak (2075 meters or 6,807 feet) from the saddle and met the Angelus Hut wardens on the way. I enjoyed grand views over the St. Arnaud, Travers, and Angelus Ranges before the clouds rolled in. Once at the picturesque Angelus Hut I enjoyed the relative luxury of the serviced hut along with 22 other hikers. What a difference from the Hopeless side! The following day brought gloomy weather that made for a cool hike out along Robert’s Ridge to the carpark. It was a beautiful trip that I’d love to do again in better weather! Even so, the layer of thick inverted clouds filling the valleys below and the intense colors of the red and grey rock made for stunning views in their own right.”
“You never know when you might find a stunning scene! This was taken last night on the side of the road near my house and pictures farmland in the Aorere Valley.”
“Just descended from spending last night at the wonderful Mount Brown Hut near Hokitika on the wild West Coast of the South Island and NOW I’m about to take off in a helicopter to reach Almer Hut perched high above Franz Josef glacier! I arrived in town without any plans and now have an incredible opportunity! So exciting! Stay tuned for photos of the epic scenery to come!!”
[More of Crystal’s New Zealand Photography coming soon!]