2/26/10: Routeburn Track, New Zealand
Kevin collects views.
Some people collect baseball cards or stamps or little duck figurines. Kevin – he collects views. You’d think this wouldn’t be a problem on a trip like ours – there should be tons of places with fantastic views that would satisfy his thirst for them easily. He could pick up a few here, a few there, and we would move on quite happily. But it turns out that’s not the case.
The main issue (one of a few, I might add) is that Kevin is completely undiscriminating when it comes to his views. There’s no quality control when it comes to this collecting – it’s just a wild frenzy. Let’s consider an analogy. Suppose that you collect baseball cards. Suppose you already have a valuable card of a hall-of-famer (insert your favorite hall-of-famer here), and it’s in MINT condition. Now suppose someone says to you, “Hey, if you walk for two hours in that direction over there, then you can have the exact same card that you already own – except I’ve ripped off one of the corners! Doesn’t that sound awesome?!” While any normal person’s answer to this would be “Um no, not really,” Kevin’s answer, when it comes to views, is “Heck yeah, point the way!”
It is just totally bizarre.
So you can imagine what lengths we’ll go to chasing down these views. We will literally walk for hours uphill in order to reach some kind of view, even if we’ve already had a better view of the exact same scene. I think one reason that Kevin finds this exercise so satisfying is because he thinks of it as free. But, as Professor Buckles taught us in Economics 101 (which Kevin slept through, uncoincidentally), “there’s no such thing as a free lunch!” While Kevin might think his quest for views is free, I know better. Because it’s costing unsore legs! And time! Granted our time isn’t all that valuable these days, but still!
But I go along with this quest because (and Kevin doesn’t know this) each hour we spend pursuing views, I’m mentally rewarding myself with one ice cream cone coupon to be redeemed when I see fit. And if the walk is especially strenuous, I’ll give myself a two-scoop coupon. I think if he knew that I’ve been doing this then maybe he wouldn’t consider this view-hunting to be quite so free, especially since I’ve still got three mental ice cream cone coupons left unused. But I think he should be happy that I’ve come up with such a system for myself, because this means I’m quite satisfied forgoing a nap in order to chug along up a hill or through a field or wherever he sees fit for us to go on his crazy view-quest, since it means I’m getting myself an ice cream cone after it’s over.
Today I earned myself an ice cream cone (two scoops!) to be redeemed at a later date. Because when we got to Harris Saddle, the highest point on the Routeburn Track, to eat lunch, Kevin saw a sign pointing up a steep and rocky hill that stated, “Conical Hill: 1 – 2 hour return.” Well, of course then we had to climb that trail, especially after someone who had already gone up and come down said, “It’s worth the trip – there are some fabulous views.”
And I have to admit it – it was indeed worth the trip, and the views were indeed fabulous. (And my two-scoop ice cream cone will be fabulous too!)
Puzzles for Postcards
Where Am I? Name the temple.
Picture of the Day: Not a bad place to do some reading, huh?