Today ended up being a wicked adventure. My plan was to go for a short walk/do some easy sightseeing and then spend the rest of the afternoon lounging down by the waterfront. (Tryin’ to get my tan on!) Well, that didn’t happen. I took a wrong turn on the trail and ended up on the Ben Lomond Track—a six-hour hike!
In the morning I slept in a bit, had some free breakfast (toast) from the hostel, and then I decided to do some touristy-stuff, taking the Skyline Gondola (URL?) up to see the view of Queenstown. Then I saw signs for a 20-minute Skyline Loop Track, and thought that I’d have a nice walk before having lunch. Before you know it I’m standing on the jumping point for the paragliding folks, which was cool, and just a bit further on there was a high point up on a hill that I thought would be good for lunch, views, etc.
Then I saw a trail, and asked some people walking by where they were going. They pointed to the top of the mountain and said, “Ben Lomond,” and then I knew that I had gone too far; there was no turning around and going back to the beach from here. I followed this epic, poorly marked trail over ridges and rocky mounds until I finally got to the 5,735-foot peak. The rest of the story will be told through pictures captioned by my internal monologue throughout the day: