I spent my last day in Arthur’s Pass climbing Mt. Aiken. The climb up to the tree-line was once again a scramble, including a 3m rock cliff that I had to scale. At the tree-line there is a sign saying, “Trail markings stop at this point. Do not proceed past this point unless you are an experienced tramper with route-finding and map-reading skills.” I didn’t actually have a map, but the ridgeline was pretty straightforward, so I set off for the top. The rest of the hike was scrambling up scree slopes and climbing on narrow rocky ridge-lines. It was my kind of hike. I ate lunch at the top, where the views were absolutely amazing. I could see hanging glaciers on many of the peaks in Arthur’s Pass, and some of the couloirs were absolutely amazing.
After lunch I hiked down to Devil’s Punchbowl waterfall, where there was the largest gathering of tourists that I’d seen since leaving fijordland (it’s only 15 minutes from the car park). I decided that it was time to go, so I got in my car and headed for Christchurch. In Christchurch, I had a huge meal at an Indian restaurant that made me very happy. I was getting pretty sick of hiking food.
Yesterday after collecting the rest of my bags from the CDC and emptying my the contents of rental car into the Devon’s lounge, I returned my rental car and proceeded to wander around Christchurch for awhile. While I was sitting in the Christchurch square, a man dressed as a wizard stood up on a wooden ladder and called out for the attention of the crowd. It turns out that he’s the Official Wizard of New Zealand, and he proceeded to give an hour long speech about how men these days are really subserviant sex objects and women are destroying the world by shopping. It was highly entertaining.
I then proceeded to go back to my room in the Devon and read papers about bolometers and squids, and to study up on physics. You may wonder why I decided to do this on my last night in NZ. I got an e-mail from the Hertz foundation 2 days ago informing me that even though it’s really late they decided they want to interview me anyway–less than 24 hours after I get back to Berkeley. Oh and by the way, it’s a technical interview pattered after the PhD oral exam, so come prepared. Since I spent the last 7 months fighting with software, testing detectors, and working at the telescope, it’s been awhile since I’ve performed any calculations. So I’m just trying to brush up on all the stuff related to what I’ve been up to in the last 7 months so I can sound somewhat intelligent. Hopefully they don’t ask me anything about all that class-work I’ve forgotten over the past few years. Wish me luck! Oh yea, and don’t worry–I eventually stopped reading papers and went out for a beer.
In other news, I need one of these: