Sunday, 26 July 2009

Regrets - I've had a few...

...but then again, too few to get het up about. But lest anyone thinks this trip has been as smooth as a baby's bottom (which is more than can be said for my bottom), here's a few moments when it wasn't:

- Lost or stolen camera (Melbourne) : Looks like I'll have to rely on my memory for the last few days in Tasmania and Melbourne.
- Accidental deletion of several days photos (New Zealand): And the same goes for my time on the Queen Charlotte Track and near Nelson in the South Island. Still not sure what button I pressed, still grumpy about the result.
- $300 car damage (NZ): Apparently only about 1 in 25 people take the accidental damage insurance from car rental companies. I'm one of the 24, which bit me in NZ when something wooden fell off a moving timber truck, and demolished the mirror on the driver's door of my hire car.
- Badly fitting flippers on my diving course, and failure to take protective measures. I had spectacular blisters, especially on the upper part of the balls of my feet for a couple of weeks afterwards, which made walking, or just wearing shoes come to that, very uncomfortable.
- Walking into wall: Happened while trying to find toilet in darkness in unfamiliar house. Embarrassing swelling on forehead for several days.
- Flight from Oahu to Big Island, Hawaii: This flight takes its passengers along the south coast of 3 big islands, past beaches, volcanoes and other fantastic scenery, all visible if you sit on the left of the plane. I sat on the right, from where you can see the Pacific Ocean.
- Theft of t-shirt from washing line in Cairns: This was my black one with a picture of George Best above his most famous quote about how he spent his money. Acted as an ice-breaker in several hostels and hostelries. People tended to assume I was Irish, but this isn't always a bad thing.
- Eating paua (Local NZ Shellfish) in Thai restaurant in Kaikoura: The shells are beautiful when polished. The contents are rubbery, gritty and bitter, and should be discarded, not cooked.
- Oedipus Rex by awful local theatre company in Darwin: I resent the fact that I'll never get those 2 wasted hours back!

Another regret is making definitive statements on my blog which turn out to be nonsense, such as "I'm not going to Yosemite in temperatures over 90". It topped 100 today, but I've come anyway, too many people in San Francisco said I couldn't afford to miss it. And while hiking's very hard work (4 miles on the flat left me shattered), the park is so well organised and gorgeous that I can forgive. Though even Yosemite has its bad moments. The photo shows Mount Watkins (one of many stunning lumps of granite) in the background, and shattered trees and rubble in the foreground cause by a major rockfall a couple of months back. The damage these can cause is impressive, the relevant path is impassable for the foreseeable future.

Hiking is essential to avoid the crowds in Yosemite, but California has state parks as well as national parks. I visited Pacheco park ( on the way here. 7000 acres, 28 miles of trails (I covered about 6 of them), beautiful scenery (not as dramatic as Yosemite, but what is?) perfect walking conditions (it's close enough to the coast that the temperatures are bearable) and I was the only person in the whole park. Or at least I saw no one else and there were no other cars parked, which is all the evidence needed in the US.

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