Queenstown: Day 4

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.

A really cool mushroom I saw on the first leg of my journey through pine forest.

A really cool mushroom I saw on the first leg of my journey through pine forest.

View from my lunch spot! Absolutely gorgeous day!

View from my lunch spot! Absolutely gorgeous day!

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:

Hmm... Ben Lomond, eh? Let's do it!

Hmm… Ben Lomond, eh? Let’s do it!

Holy crap this is like from Lord of the Rings.

Holy crap this is like from Lord of the Rings.

Are you sure this crazy trail isn't from Lord of the Rings?

Are you sure this crazy trail isn’t from Lord of the Rings?

Ah, finally. An easier path.

Ah, finally. An easier path.

Just kidding. Not easier.

Just kidding. Not easier. That’s a long way to tumble.

Oh crap, down below is that stupid Moke Lake from my bike adventure yesterday. But look at those mountains!

Oh crap, down below is that stupid Moke Lake from my bike adventure yesterday. But look at those mountains!

3 hours later... I'm at the top! Made some friends up there too!

3 hours later… I’m at the top! Misty Mountains/The Remarkables behind me. Queenstown down below… what a long way to come!

Oogling over how beautiful those mountains are!!

Oogling over how beautiful those mountains are!!

This cool thing tells you which peak you're looking at.

This cool thing tells you which peak you’re looking at.

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