Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Twin Paradox of Emily in New Zealand: Part 1

 First things first… I will shamefully admit I haven’t updated my blog in over three weeks.  Here is my intelligent attempt at creating an explanation/excuse for this.

Let’s first learn some physics.

Twin Paradox
Noun, Physics
1. The apparent paradox arising from relativity theory that if one of a pair of twins makes a long journey at near the speed of light and then returns, he or she will have aged less than the twin who remans behind.

Emily Twin Paradox
Noun, Emily jargon
1. When Emily is really busy/lazy/traveling a lot/on YouTube a lot and needs a scientific explanation for why it seems like she's taken forever to update her blog.  

Since I’ve essentially been traveling at the speed of light, you just think I’ve been away from my blog for a really long time but in reality this is all in your head.   

Here's a few really spectacular events that have happened since “Kaikoura Kraziness”:
  1. My trip to Mount Cook/Lake Tekapo 
  2. I passed my first Science test I’ve taken since high school (I suck at most sciences) 
  3. I completed MY FIRST GREAT WALK on the gorgeous Kepler Track.
Part 1 of the Twin Paradox of Emily in New Zealand highlights my trip to Mount Cook, which consisted of a two night camping trip in the midst of New Zealand’s breathtaking Southern Alps.  While no one in my group actually climbed Mount Cook due to the fact it’s a Mountaineering trip, a bad@$$ named Freda Du Faur did in the early 20th century.

While many others have also accomplished this feat, and many others have unfortunately passed while attempting to accomplish this feat, Freda was the first woman to successfully make it to the summit of Mount Cook.  In a skirt. This is some intense climbing for even expert climbers with modern day gear and guides.  So quick shout to Freda for being everything I aspire to be. 

While exploring the Mount Cook National Park, my friends and I climbed the Mueller Hut Track.  This took us up 2200 steps of stairs (known as “the Stairway to Heaven” which made me even happier as a die-hard Led Zeppelin fanatic) and we were greeted afterwards by a lovely 75 degree-ish incline of fallen rock and terrain for the next 2 hours.   It was breathtaking in the most literal and figurative way possible (by that I mean my breath was taken away for multiple reasons, good and bad). 

After the bulk of this intense trek comes a ridge, and I may or may not have shed a quick tear as I crossed over this.  Not because of the pain finally hitting my body, but of things like this. 

(More pics of the Park and of Lake Tekpao can be found here)

Silly Emily was of course not satisfied with “the top”, and wanted to go to the next sort of “peak”.  
* Mom don’t read this * I can’t say I didn’t almost fall whilst scaling rocks and balancing the weight of my body and monstrous backpack, but I CAN say that I did not actually fall, and successfully made it to my destination.  Here I met one of the park rangers, who encouraged me to kiss a rock and add it to the pile of rocks kissed by other previous trampers.  I did so gladly. 

The alpine views I witnessed that day were far more than impressive, but I wish I was able to capture the beauty of the stars that night as well.  Unfortunately, iPhone and GoPro cameras were unable to achieve this. 

Highpoints of our last day in the Park included a final trek to the glacial pool that lies below Mount Cook.  I personally did nothing more than wade up to my sore calves in the pool, but a few of the more daring members of my group full out swam in this freezing lake.  The most daring thing I proceeded to do that day was attempt napping on an alpaca rug in a gift shop the bus stopped at… and then awkwardly got woken up/scolded at by the cashier who was trying to sell it to a paying customer. Hey, climbing mountains and stuff makes you tired. 

And to leave y’all with some words of wisdom, I compiled a list of Emily realizations you might find interesting or beneficial or something that I came across during this past trip. 

Practical things I learned:
  1.  Cuddling is good when it’s freezing  
  2. Invest in a proper sleeping bag and/or sleeping pad (both would be great) 
  3. Meals = peanut butter (I obviously don't mind this) 
  4. Don’t expect to sleep much while tent camping.  Adrenaline will get you through whatever you have to do the next day. 
  5. Don’t ask the bus driver any questions, stupid or relevant.  He will throw an unnecessary hissy fit.  
  6. Coming home to your wonderful flatmates makes you feel warm and tingly and yes I hate myself for sounding so corny but it’s true. 

Other things: 
  1. Mountains are deceiving…. AKA when you think you’re almost to the top it’s really just cause it’s a tall mountain and, well… you’re not almost to the top. 
  2. Take risks.  Walk on unmarked trails. Climb to the next ridge.  But don’t be (too) stupid.
  3. Stargazing with friends is one of those wonderful overlooked things in life.  And stargazing with yourself and your thoughts is one of those wonderful and even more overlooked things in life.   
  4. Ridges are cool because you can’t see over them.  And when you do, it’s often a pleasant surprise well worth climbing to the top for.  
  5. Kiss a rock at the summit. 
  6. Take your time and enjoy the view.  Hiking is not a race.  In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” 

P.S. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Twin Paradox of Emily in New Zealand! Also, I apologize for my poor quality of writing as I am also in the midst of writing midterm papers right now and am brain-fried.

Keep Happy,


  1. FYI...when you write "mom don't read this" it is an automatic invitation for me to keep reading with more concerted comprehension than if you were to not flag me. Actually, I couldn't be more thrilled that you are exploring, examining, exhilarating, extending, etc. Love you to the NZ moon and back.

  2. ^^this made me tear up