trip report: New Zealand – Rees-Dart Track, January 2020

Tramping (aka hiking) and New Zealand are synonymous when we think of traveling to the small island nation. However, there is much more to the hiking scene there than just the Great Walks (DOC). I have met locals that have exclaimed that the Great Walks, while very worth it, aren’t the best scenery that New Zealand has to offer. With our hike of the Rees-Dart track, I completely understand that sentiment. 


This is the six entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series covering our tramp of the Rees-Dart Track in Mt. Aspiring National Park. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip report: Australia & New Zealand – decisions & planning, December 2019

In the travel enthusiast game, it is all about jumping on opportunities. This specific opportunity we took advantage of were a couple of one way flights from Auckland, New Zealand to the U.S. for 6000 American Airline Miles each, which is as close to free as you can get. The final result was my first visit to Australia to dive the Great Barrier Reefs and a return to the south island of New Zealand over the winter holidays. Reflecting now on that trip, which took place just before the 2020 pandemic and the travel restrictions, the notion of jumping on opportunities to travel when we can do so safely again in the future seems all the more important. For now, all I can do is to reflect on our adventures down under.


This is the first entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series covering our pre-trip planning (1). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.

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trip report: segmented Walker’s Haute Route, June 2014

Recently, airfare between Europe and United States have been on an all-time low driven by budget airlines like WOW, Norwegian, and Level even in the summer high season. With the ease of the trans-Atlantic commute and the beginning of summer hut to hut trekking season in Europe, I thought it was appropriate to jump back in the time machine to June 2014 and write about the time we did a segmented Walker’s Haute Route trek. As with my previous report about the past, my information might be dated now. Please cross check all the trail information with reputable sources.

Before I get started on the report, a key aspect to keep in mind is that the Walker’s Haute Route is really sections of different hut to hut hikes that was put together to fit the 2 week holidays Europeans, especially Brits, have by Kev Reynolds and the Cicerone guide books. There are many, many different alternatives you can take or loop together. The number of trails in Switzerland is pretty astounding, though it fits since the entire country is pretty much just glacier carved valleys.

A unique aspect of our trek was that we started the hike in mid-June, which was before the official Walker’s Haute Route season that year. So we had to mixed and matched different sections of the trails around, hence the segmented nature of this trip.


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trip report: Tour du Mont Blanc, July 2011

This was one of those things seemingly all young Americans did when I was growing up. It was almost a rite of passage. It was in line with the American road trip with your buddies. Some movies I can remember off the top of my head include Before Sunrise, An American Werewolf in Paris, some movie(s) with the Olsen twins, and of course Eurotrip (I didn’t say they were good movies). What I’m referring to is the European backpacking trip. More specifically, getting a rail pass and just going from city to city. For many it’s getting back to the old country and back to their roots, for others it’s to immerse in a different culture, and definitely for some, it was to get wasted and party their way across the land. Regardless of what someone did, backpacking in Europe with friends or by oneself seemed like, to me, one of those things that all young people did. It was a place with plenty of backpacking infrastructure and easy to go from place to place. And in most cases, one would take away life lessons, create stories they’d tell the rest of their lives, and returned back more knowing more about the world and themselves. Today with the internet, travel blogs, and global tourism, kids aren’t so confined to Europe to get that experience. But for me, a kid of the 90s, a Euro trip was the first place to travel to.


This entry is the first of the backlogged trip reports from the past that I’ll be working through. Unlike current reports, I won’t have exact costs or as complete of a report as I’m working off memories. Furthermore, by no means was I as efficient in budgeting in the past as I am now so there are definitely areas I could have saved money and some areas I went way too out of the way to save money. Lastly, some of the information and trails may have changed also over the years, so please cross check any information for your own safety.

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