Last full day with the group. Didn’t sleep too well last night … looked at clock about every hour. Up at 4:15, quick wash (no shower, shave) and out the door to get on van before 5:00. Drove out along the road along the Tasman Valley. Stopped at a point where we could see both the sunrise on one side across the valley and see the light hitting Mt. Cook and surrounding mountains on the other side. Quite cold. Quite lovely. Stayed there until sun totally over the horizon, about 6:15.

Back here, Dave M, Rita, and I went uphill in my car to The Hermitage for breakfast. $29 NZD for the full breakfast, which we all did. And we took eggs and sandwiches wrapped in paper napkins for lunch. Hey, we paid a lot for the meal!

Met with group at 9:00 for strenuous uphill hike of over 30 minutes to above the Tasman Valley and Tasman Lake (melt lake from the glacier). The view was fantastic. It looked over all the mountains around us and the lake where Jeff and I had the excursion and I took that pix of the basal ice. The two little boats we saw looked like specks from our height. We could see Mt. Cook, Mt. Tasman, Mt. Murchison and one other peak that we’re not sure what it is. Stayed up there until 10:45, but didn’t get back to motel until noon with the time it took everyone to get back to the van and stops along the way back for pix of Tasman Valley.

Dave and I ate in our room with our ill-gotten gains from breakfast and some food we had bought at grocery stores along the way and had to use up. There was supposed to be a three-hour walk this afternoon, but it’s been cancelled, and I had already decided not to go anyway. Spent the afternoon on the Internet once I found out it was free! And did some looking at pix. Many to many to even think about processing until I get home. Got over 200 spam messages. Blech.

So, we all got together at the same pub we frequented last night. Took our wonderful driver, John, out to dinner with us. Then up to The Hermitage to take pix of Mt. Cook at sunset.

And I haven’t said anything about the sandflies here. They are small blackflies that bite, bite, bite. You have to put insect repellant on about anytime you go outside or are attacked by the little suckers.

It’s been an interesting trip with the whole group. Lots of different dynamics. Lots of different personalities. Lots of different camera equipment. All stories to be shared. Tomorrow it’s the four of us heading out about the same time the van with the rest of the pack leaves here. Should be interesting on all levels and, hopefully, all good.

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