J just kept staring at Mt. Cook, dreaming that someday he will climb it. Meanwhile, I sat nearby biting my nails thinking about the day he will.
On day 2, the weather was turning for the worst, so we did a quick 12K out-and-back hike up to Hooker Glacier before the rain hit. It was an easy and flat hike, crossing an alpine memorial (more than 70 people have died on Mt. Cook alone and 200 in the park) and 3 swingbridges that had a maximum load of 10 people (NZ is getting soft!).
For the rainy afternoon, we explored the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Center
, which was awesome. There were tons of climbing displays and historical information, including grim stories of some of the people killed in climbing accidents in the park.
The center also had several film showings, including one about Sir Edmund Hillary. Hillary had a fascinating life of mountaineering, including to be the first to reach Everest in 1953 and come back down alive.
We watched a total of 5 films and each time we had a break and passed a window, we saw the weather getting worse and worse.
J said, "I really hope our tent is okay."
I laughed. "It's Big Agnes
. Of course it's okay." We have used and tested at least 10 different Big Agnes tents in all sorts of weather and they always do fine. Our Copper Spur for this trip endured 70+ nights already.
When we got back to camp, this is what we found.
Apparently the 70MPH winds were a little too much!!! To be fair, our tent was in a field with no shelter from trees, so highly exposed. That night, we slept in the kitchen area of the campground with other not-so-lucky tenters as the wind continued to howl outside and the rain downpour all night long.
As broken-hearted as we are about our damaged tent, we are grateful this happened at the end of our trip! And J, being the MacGyver he is, has temporarily fixed the tent in case we need it for the rest of our NZ travels.