Day 12. My Bunji jump and out of Queenstown

9:24pm Sunday

I don’t have much signal to post this tonight but I will tm..

So I wake up at 6:30am to get all my stuff to the office by 8. Drop off my phone and small power bank to be charged in the kitchen and before I start packing. I immediately regret dropping off my phone as there is a really bright and amazing sunrise over the mountains. Ah well, I’ll probably see more of those. Not many people in the campground are awake. I try to be quiet, but somethings you just can’t help, like rolling up your mattress and sleeping bag are almost as loud as fiddling with a plastic bag.

(Falling asleep lol)

I have an hour and a half to get all my stuff packed and ready. Not a ton of time. Because my phone is the main thing that tells me the time, I act like I only have 30 min to pack. It helps I think?

(Can’t think straight. I’ll have to finish in the morning. )

8:45am

Still raining.. back the the other day.

I gave myself till 8am to get to the campground office to drop off my stuff which was good of me to plan it that way because I didn’t have to be to the Bunji office till 8:50am. It was only about a 7 min walk. I finish packing and get my stuff to the kitchen with 20 min to spare. (7:40am) I still need to eat breakfast anyway. So I pull out a plump blueberry muffin and a banana. They have the biggest bananas I have ever seen here. Like I can wrap my hand around the center of it and there is quite a bit above and below my hand. Finish eating and head to the office, and just tell them I was told I could leave my stuff here since I was going bunji jumping. “Sure!” And she unlocks a side door where I walk into and see other people’s luggage etc in there. Hadn’t seen this woman before so she couldn’t have recognized me. I thought.. I wonder if you could just do this at any place? Lol. Look at something they are offering. Ummm yes.. I am supposed to go graffiti walls with a group here in a few minutes can I leave my life in your storage room? K thanks.

I walk down to the bunji office where I check in. She prints out a paper that says Kevin Senkin. Sigh. I tell her that my name is Kevin Sanders and not… she interrupts me and says “oh you can change all of that over there on the iPad” ook. Basically you are putting in your information, address, can’t sue us if you die etc etc. Not my first rodeo. I make suuure to change my last name to my real one as I know they will probably slap it on a few things after I finish.

At end it says to go back to the desk. Ook. Turn back around and she is just looking at me. “All done?” Yeeep. Ok walk around back and only keep what you’re going to bunji jump in. I have all sorts of change and receipts in my pockets and always have a pocket knife and a mini double AA battery sized light beside it. It takes me a min to put everything on the counter and she makes a comment. “You know.. Canadians are the most prepared people I have ever met. You have something for everything. Us kiwis if we want to go on a hike… we won’t take anything, might even forget our shoes!” Heh.. (do I take that as a compliment or not..?) subtle chuckle at her joke as I stand on the scale. “And step down and step on it again” lol I forgot my phone was in my right leg pocket. I smile and pull out my phone and put it on the pile just to make her statement 100% accurate. Hop back on. She puts a black bracelet on my left wrist and writes numbers on my hands. Compares info from another paper then underlines a number. “This bracelet has all of your information on it, so you will use that for everything.” Mkay. “Also you have till 9:20 till your bus gets here. You’re in bus 3 (and she points to the number on my hand) you have 40 minutes if you want to go get breakfast or something. ” Mkay. I use my time to post stuff on social media like many people with their heads in their phones.

A woman comes around and hands us all free WiFi coupons while we wait. I try to connect to even put in the username and pw. Pull up the browser. Sit and wait 5 minutes. Nothing. Whatever I don’t need WiFi anyway, got full signal. Trying to post one lasttt thing and the same woman says “5 minutes before your bus driver gets here if you need to use the bathroom” still trying to finish. I think I ran to the bathroom at the 5 min mark. Walk back and I see everyone I know being less out by ‘Joe’. I run and get my bag and turn around as the last one out to take a picture.

And the bus.

On the bus. He says it’s going to be about 20 min for the Kawaru bridge (or something I can’t look it up with no signal) and 45 min for the Nexus bunji jump. Our bridge was the first.. only 45 meters. The nexus is like 100 something meters. So a lot higher. I prefer higher but there’s just something about jumping off the worlds first bunji bridge that keeps me leaning towards that decision. Plus the higher one cost a bunch more.

We arrive and he says “only those jumping off the bridge get off the bus”. Sounds funny. I’m actually not nervous at all.. a bunch of non English speaking Chinese get off before I do, and he tells us all “let me see your hands” to check some number and he points to the 3 or 4 of them, “You guys get back on the bus” but motioning so they could understand him and not his words.

It has to be extremely frustrating for the people here trying to give instructions to those who don’t speak English as their first language. Igor and I saw that on the luge ride things. Not understanding. For example at the end you had to take your cart allll the way up to the yellow line. If you get out of your cart it engages the brake. We had to wait in lie at the end and wait for people to get out of their carts. Soooo many people just got up and tried walking away. That poor woman at the bottom trying to get these carts into the corral seemed like she was always yelling and pointing. “No! Back in your cart. You! Sit back down”. Anyway forgot about that.

We all walk in and he takes us down this really cool circular path around to down at the bottom.

Get I the bottom and he points to a line of computers and says “you can tap your bracelets on here after you jump and it will pull up videos and photos of you. You also have a number on your hand because these bracelets are kind of new so Incase your bracelet doesn’t work we have the old system to pull them up” I look at my number. Numba 1 suckasss. Lol he said the numbers weren’t the order we were jumping in and had us head outside to show us the bridge.

(Vertical panorama for the win)

He said “there are a lot of you, sooo you should probably go to the bathroom and meet up on the bridge so you don’t do it up there. There is also a cafe that sells alcohol if you need 4 shots before you jump” lol

(outside door was closed)

I snap some pics and want to see at least one person jump. There was a Chinese guy about to jump and he had his while cheering squad on the side where I took my picture from.

There are a few guys working on the bridge and talking you through the steps. “Look at this camera, now look to your left” shuffle forward now I’m going to say 3,2,1 jump and you will just jump forward. The further you fly the better the bunji” I can understand that so if you jump more away from the platform you will swing more.

I head up to the bridge and they seem to be working like a well oiled machine. A lady has me put all my stuff in a basket to come back later to get. I strap my go pro on my wrist facing me. They make sure you know that if you hit yourself or lose your go pro, it’s on you and not them. Yea yea.

The woman is telling some people to go to one side and the others to go to the other side. I ask why. People on one side are super light while my side are the heavier ones. I said..”you callin me fat?!” He didn’t hear me lol. So. There is an option (if we were feeling adventurous) that they could dip our heads in upper bodies in the water when we bounced from the bottom back up. I’m all for that! He said the lighter side was too light to do it. So I think I’m in. I’m asked to step out of line to put on a harness and the guy says, put your right leg in that hole and your left in that hole and I’ll it up. I tell him I feel like I’m putting on an adult diaper. (That not I have!) He chuckles.

So many people are freaking out. I was watching a girl from my bus standing at the ledge. He kept talking to her and she kept saying something back. She started like growling and stuff just to get her confidence up. Lol. Finallly after 5 minutes trying to jump he has her put her hands in front of her and clasp them and gives her a nudge. Lol. I wonder if sometimes they have to peel people’s fingers off the metal handle that you have. I don’t know how you can get people to face one of biggest fears and still get them to jump..

My turn.

I step through the outside part of the bridge onto a solid covered platform that they had made. I sit down and he tells me to bend my knees and put my feet together. He starts wrapping a fat towel around and between my ankles. Then cross crossing some cords that I understand will tighten the more weight that is on them. He says to me like he knows I want to do it.. “unfortunately you weigh just 10 pounds under the requirement for dipping in the water” BOOOOOOO. Only when I was younger and at this instant had I wished I had weighed moreeee. I told him if I knew that I would have been eating more buffets while I was here! Ah well. Would have been cold anyway. He tells me to hop up and notice that in all my boooing that they already attached the bunji and everything. I made sure my go pro is recording. He gives me the same instructions. Look up there at our camera,

Look left at that camera,

and when I say 3,2,1 you jump. I stand on the ledge only holding on to get up. Shuffle to the end of my wooden plank. Spread my arms like a bird, wink at my go pro. “3…2…1.. jump!” Without hesitation I leap off.

Kind of surprising but on the way down was the only time my mind was like…WHAT DID YOU JUST DO?!? Haha! My voice was caught in my throat as I tried to yell while falling, it only came out as I bounced at the bottom and back up again.

WHAT. A RUSH. !! I feel my blood pumping 1000 miles a minute and the endorphins kick in with euphoria. That was so awesome!! I know many people reading this are saying, “you’re crazy, I would never do that”. I say to that, only those that face their fears will ever really feel what it means to be alive! 😁😁

At the bottom there are two guys in a raft that tell me to grab a hold of this long pole so they can pull me in. (I’ve had to do this at cedar point from.. I forget the ride but it was my favorite.. where you grab something to pull you in.) “Lean towards your feet” So I can land on my upper back in the boat. “Look up there!”

They quickly undo my ankles and have me hop off to walk up the path to go back to the top.

Walk up and checkout my pictures and videos. There were 3 kind of cheesy videos that we I did (not of the jump) but like before a lady asked if I wanted to record it, why not. Basically just asking how I’m feeling etc. Then right after I got out of the boat there was a box I tapped my wristband on to record my after thoughts. Meh. It was just cheesy talking with my hat head hair. I purchased the physical photos but realized after I should have got the digital ones because now I would have to carry them around with me. We got a certificate and a free t shirt also.

We were told several times the bus would be there at 11:20am to pick us up from the same place we were dropped off. Al of our bunji stuff, shirt, picture, cert in a nice little brown bag. Taking the bus back to Queenstown I think I should find a post office to send them home so they don’t get too messed up. Either way when I got back and got my backpack I asked where the closest P.O. was and got directions. I went to the kitchen area and took pictures of all the pictures in case something happened to them. Combined alllll my stuff, mapped out a route to head towards Glenorchy. A small town about 44km away. I head to he post office.. closed?? Aww noooo it’s Sunday isn’t it… well crap. I took my backpack off again and delicately put them under my solar panel which is the biggest hard flat surface I have.

I also knew if at some point I planned on hitchhiking I needed a piece of cardboard. I remembered see a bunch in front of this one restaurant on the way out of town.

Now. This moment is like when a teenager gets his drivers license. I not only feel homeless digging through cardboard scraps but feel like a REAL backpacker now as I rip off a decent sized piece. I’m all of a sudden giddy with excitement. I strap it to my backpack and proudly walk away.

I have no plan. Didn’t call anywhere to stay. I’m trying to get to a place where I could freedom camp but even that will take about 8 hours to get there. So this town is 44 kilometers away and I recall Igor and I doing 20 a day in our first hike.

I love that the path and road wind beside this REALLY blue lake the entire way. I can’t stop taking picture of it.

A very old woman going the opposite direction with a cane… yea. A cane. Passes by and says in a Yoda like voice..”two sticks are better than one” I laugh.. yea I guess so. She has to be in amazing shape.

I hike and hike and hike. Now looking at my GPS because it shows the hiking trails. Walking along the beach and the trail just ends. ?? Ook well I look and it shows another trail up at a higher altitude but i have to cross the street and about climb this hill. Not a path. I figure this is what backpackers do right? Don’t have a path you make one. After getting to the top there’s a row of about 2 ft tall spread out bushes. I see where people have gone through before. I hop up and suddenly see I’m in a very nice housing edition in someone’s backyard. Oooooh crap. Shoot shoot shoot. I walk to one end of the yard to see if there’s a way around the house, steep edge on one side and on the other is thorny bushes going down. I see the road on one side of the house and quickly head that way. A woman approached me from around front the house. I know exactly what she is going to say… “What do you junk you’re doing?? You know this is private property! Where did you come from??” All I can do is apologize. I tell her that my beach trail ended and on my tiny GPS screen I saw another one just up here on this road. “You saw the row of bushes there, you had to have destroyed something to get up here” I didn’t! It looked like people had already done it before me. So I quickly hand her my Hope Hike card and tell her I’m hiking for people who have cancer. (Like that will help anything) She grabs it and tell me to get along. I apologize again. So if someone puts something pretty negative on here or my social media..you’ll know. If she is reading this, it was an honest mistake. There was no sign. No fence. No indication that I couldn’t go that direction but some thin bushes. I would recommend putting a small sign in that spot that says to keep out if I were you. Sorry!

Kinda shook up a bit I find the trail on my GPS and continue. I hike for a few hours every now and then taking breaks. Mainly marked paths and official hiking routes. The path ends at the road I’ve been following. I can see walking a little less than a mile there is another path beside the road.

That path goes up and down and winds me along side the water.

A cool dock in the middle of no where.

It’s getting kind of late. I see on my gps that it says sunset is in 3 hours. (It’s about 6:30pm) there’s no way I can to the freedom camping place tonight. I see a sign for the next camping place 2KM ahead. But I also see on the sign that it says no tents or campers. Kind of frustrating but in my head I keep thinking, the Lord provides. It will be ok. I don’t know how. The Lord provides. I’m thinking I need to persuade someone to let me setup my tent. I see this and was confused..

I think I see both tents and campers. I don’t get it. Closer look and see the sign.

Yessss tents! No idea why the last sign said it wasn’t allowed. It’s quite a long way down.

I start to make the trek. It surprised me that so many people drove by without asking if I needed a lift down. There was only one thing at the bottom, the campground. I guess I did look a little homeless? Moral of that story.. you have no idea who the person is or what their story is. You can at least stop and ask if they need anything..

I like seeing the other side of life. I have put myself in this position a handful of times and can now relate to those people. Finally get to the bottom and see this sign:

Weird. So this is like an honesty system camp ground? I pull out a bag from the box and my pen from my backpack. There’s a place to write on the bag.. it asks for your license number and how many days you’re staying. I write backpacker, my name, describe my tent put in $14 cash and a card. Tip and my card. I dunno. There’s a small gap on top of the metal pole under the overhang to put the bags. I guess I can setup where ever there’s room? Iiiii want a room with a view lol. Walked around quite a bit and al the good spots were taken. I see signs that we can’t camp close to the shore. So I setup as close as I can and do some rock decorating lol.

I quickly unroll everything and setup inside. Now it’s time to eat! Mac and cheese it is. Inside my tent there is no cell service and outside it’s intermittent. After eating I take a very short walk to this view:

(Thank you tripod and self timer) lol kinda ruins the magic of the photo when you hear they had to take 5 shots before getting one that worked. I head back to the tent and plan to blog before I sleep. As you can see that didn’t work out so well. This place has bathrooms and a water faucet but tells you to boil the water before you drink it because it’s from the lake. Mkay.

I figure everyone back home is sleeping so there isn’t much use in sending the “I’m ok” to them then. So I tried it this morning. I don’t remember what the message says but I’m sure when I get phone coverage again I will because I sent it to myself too.

It has rained pretty hard all night and continues to rain! It was SO windy last night I could see and hear the tent poles straining. Hold on little guy!

I was looking at the route. Not many paths except for the road for a while. Today might be a wet hitchhiking day..? Sigh. I turned off my phone and had no real idea what time it was. I woke up at 5:30am thinking it could be anywhere from 8-10am? Had to turn on my phone to tell. Well that’s nice I guess. Back to sleep.

One thing that really sucks about thing into the WordPress app, the more you type these more delay on your words. I’m now typing 5 words ahead then watch it catch up. I often copy and paste this whole thing into notepad so I don’t lose it.

I need to eat breakfast and get out of here.

Thoughts:

Having faith and your flesh and mind hate each other. For those of you who think just running into the wild with no plan is easy, it’s not. Your brain CONSTANTLY nags you about the what if’s. I’m no extrovert so approaching people or asking for anything is wayyy out of my comfort zone. I have to suppress the bad thoughts with the good ones. God provides for his children. Everything will work out. It’s already in his plan. This campsite couldn’t have shown up at a more perfect time. Also as I’ve been typing this blog the rain has finally stopped and I can hear the birds chirping. He knows.

😄🙏🏼

11:45am

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