Where We Be
Arthur's Pass, New Zealand
We spent one week in Arthur’s Pass (pop. 60). This tiny town
is tucked into one of three main passes that cross the
Southern Alps. Robin pointed out that the smaller the town,
the longer we tend to stay in it! Arthur’s Pass is very small,
but the mountains surrounding it are big. The main draw for
us was the chance to hike several of the alpine trails in the
area. It was fun to be able to walk right from our cottage
door to the trailheads. We did three hikes in three days. The
most memorable, and the toughest, was Avalanche Peak,
which rewarded us with panoramic views after a hard climb.

As we sat outside afterwards on the patio enjoying the bird
calls and the beautiful late-summer sunshine, it was hard to
believe the weather was going to turn as nasty as the
forecast suggested. But it did. The next three days brought
billowing sheets of rain from the west, followed by a snow-
storm on Thursday, the morning we were supposed to leave.

We headed west up a road already covered in snow. I could
feel the tires slipping. We reached a hill the White Wizard
was barely able to climb crab-wise. A much bigger hill
loomed ahead. “I don’t think we’re going to make it up that,”
I told Robin. We turned around and crawled back at 5 mph,
skidding even at that speed. The White Wizard lived up to its
reputation for dirty tricks; about halfway down, the driver’s-
side windshield wiper stopped working! I had to lean over
and peer out of Robin’s passenger-side window to navigate.

Our cozy cabin at Mountain House was the perfect place to
ride out the storm. The woodburning stove in the living
room was bracketed by two comfortable couches, making it
the perfect place for long chats with new friends. A library of
books also came in handy as we whiled away the hours.
Tiny Arthur's Pass (pop. 60) nestled beneath huge mountains
Atop Avalanche Peak near Arthur's Pass
An easy hike brought us to Devil's Punchbowl Falls
Arthur's Pass valley as seen from Avalanche trail
Meet "Sheep in Boots"
Robin stands near a dropoff on Avalanche Peak
The woodburning stove at Mountain House kept things cozy
Our quaint Mountain House cottage
Robin calling family from the covered patio
There are countless one-lane bridges in New Zealand, but this one has active train tracks running on it!
View across the valley from Temple Basin ski area
Robin's photo of our shadows looking back at us
A freak summer snowstorm caught us off guard
The peaks near Arthur's Pass looked doubly majestic with the new snowfall