Wednesday, May 7, 2008

First of the Lasts

My days in Queenstown and New Zealand are tick-tick-ticking away, and I'm starting to reflect on my stay here.

Do I have any regrets in coming here? Not a one.

Have I done the things here that I wanted to do? Mostly. Looks like I'm missing Australia this time around. Have technically been to Wellington twice but haven't experienced a lick of it. Haven't been to Dunedin yet; will hopefully sneak a quick trip in right before I leave. Otherwise, I've done everything I wanted to and more.

Will I come back? Yes, but I don't know in what capacity. At the very least, there's some top-notch backcountry terrain that needs to be slaughtered with a snowboard. At the very most, there are some opportunities to work here professionally that are enticing (read: not bartending). And there's lots in between.

What's accounted for a good portion of my thoughts lately, however, has been a long string of Lasts. I have been to Wanaka for the last time. I have ridden over the Crown Range for the last time. I have told many acquaintances "see you next time" when, in reality, it's unlikely I'll see them again. I have played golf here for the last (and first) time. I have swum in the lake for the last time (today...damn cold...) I have watched the dimming light from Jacks Point for the last time.

This list will get longer with every passing day, and each Last seems to serve a dual purpose: it makes me savor the particular moment or experience, and it makes me just a little bit more wistful.

Today was a good Last: my last view of the rugged country behind Ben Lomond. I made a quick trip to the Saddle to soak in some quiet time overlooking the freshly-dusted, jagged, wild peaks, and it was indeed good.

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Ben Lomond

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Hearty bloom

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Cecil, Wakatipu, and some tussock

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And what we came for...looking north from Ben Lomond Saddle

As could be expected, I'm looking forward to some Lasts and I'm dreading others, but for every dreaded Last, there's a new First waiting on the other side. And that doesn't suck.

Past Detritus