Wow! The time is going by so fast! Do you realize that I have been gone from Brooklyn for more than 6 months now? I’m almost halfway through my trip and it seems like it is rushing by me so fast!

New Zealand was so incredible! The weather was (mostly) great, the people were very nice to me and patient with me when I didn’t know stuff and all of the scenery was so beautiful that I sometimes just had to stand and look around to take it all in. One of the most beautiful places I saw when I was in New Zealand was definitely the Milford Track.  Here is a map of where I walked and here is a map of where this is on the South Island.

Long ago, the only way to get to see the amazing place called Milford Sound (which I’ll show you pictures of later) was from the ocean. One European man, Quentin Mackinnon, figured out a way to walk there and he and his friends Donald Sutherland and John Mckay guided people who wanted to see the Sounds on this 4 day hike to see the amazing landscape and then everyone had to hike BACK over the mountain to get back to civilization. Wow! That is a lot of hiking! A road and tunnel built in 1954 made the Sound accessible so that people could drive to the Sounds instead of hiking. I wanted to see what the first European explorers saw, so I chose to do the walking instead.

I started off in a town called Te Anau, which is right on a lake. It was really rainy the day I arrived and I was scared that I wouldn’t be allowed to walk on the trail since sometimes there is flooding with too much rain and walking can be dangerous. Luckily, the rain let up and this is what it looked like the day before I left.

This was the view from the place that I stayed the night before!

I had to take a boat to the start of the trail and I was so excited to be there! I had a special pack filled with food and special hiking clothes (remember: I was going to be out in the wilderness! No electricity, no phones, no showers, nothing! I was a little scared!). I had to bring things that were lightweight and small since I was carrying everything I needed, including my sleeping bag and a book, on my back! Since I was eating food every day, my pack was getting lighter and lighter but I was also getting more and more tired!

Here I am at the start of the trail! Woo hoo!

The weather was rainy when we started to hike (there were about 40 other people hiking at the same time, none of us knew each other at the beginning) and it was really really windy. SO windy that a tree had blown over right over the trail! We had to be really careful and climb over the tree to get to our first stop.

This tree was really huge! That is my new friend, Elinor, looking for the best place to step.

Soon we got to our first stop. At three points on the trail, there are places to stay for the night. This is useful since there is no way that you can walk the whole thing in one day. The trail is 33 and a half miles long, or 54 kilometers. The places to stop are called “huts” but they are actually really comfy to stay in. There was usually a big room where we all slept in bunk beds and one big room that had sinks and places to boil water for dinner and sit and read by the fire.

This was our first stop, the Clinton Hut.

The whole first afternoon, it rained and rained and rained! I spent a lot of time in the kitchen hut making myself soup and playing card games with the other people who were hiking. We were all so excited to be on this trip! Finally, the sun came out, just in time for one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

The clouds lit up like they were on fire!

At every hut, there is a person called a “ranger” that lives there and makes sure that everyone arrives safely at each stop and that the trail is safe to walk on. At the Clinton Hut, our ranger was named Ranger Ross and when the rain stopped, he walked all of us out to a big landing pad they had built for helicopters right behind where the huts were and talked to us about all the birds that live around the Milford Track and nowhere else in the world!

Ranger Ross talking to us!

The next day was a little overcast but no rain! We walked all morning beside the Clinton River, which looked mostly like this:

Lots of rocks, lots of forest and lots and lots of green! This part of New Zealand was formed by glaciers from long ago so the mountains are really steep and rocky. The water is also VERY COLD! It was melted snow from the winter, so swimming was not a good idea.

One of the things that Ranger Ross told us about is all the work the rangers do to make sure there are baby birds being born. Someone once brought an animal called a stote to New Zealand. Stotes are weasels and it was once believed that if stotes were in New Zealand, they would eat the rabbits that were munching and crunching on all the native plants and that would be a good thing. But, stotes figured out that bird eggs were easier to eat and soon there were a lot fewer baby birds and people got worried that the birds would become extinct. Now, part of the rangers’ jobs are to set traps for the stotes so the bird eggs don’t get eaten. And it is working! We saw a mom and dad duck with FIVE baby ducklings. They were so cute!

Here is a close up of the duckies!

After the forest, the trail opened up and there were HUGE mountains on either side. It made me feel so small! The cool thing about the mountains along the trail is that they look IMPOSSIBLE to climb – they are so steep that you have really strain your neck to see the top if you are standing at the bottom.

Look how tiny I am in this valley! Wow!

We stopped that day for lunch (and by lunch I mean granola bars and dried fruit) in the most beautiful spot and the sun came out at last. Can you imagine a prettier place to rest and eat?

Steep steep mountains! The trail is the light path on the bottom left of the picture.

Finally we were walking in the valley where we could see Mckinnon Pass. This is the point that Quentin Mckinnon found was the easiest to climb over and get to Milford Sound. Yes, I said, “climb over”. I had to climb a mountain! Here is graph that shows how high we walked each day.

The lowest part, the part that looks like a saddle for a horse, is the Mckinnon Pass.

I had to zoom ALL the way on my camera to get this shot! We had a long way to climb to get there!

The third day was all about climbing. It was very steep and it was drizzling a little bit but it was so beautiful! The mountains were so green and some of them were still covered in snow. I got really hot climbing so I zipped the sleeves off of my rain coat and kept going.

I am so tired! I am almost to the top in this picture!

I knew I was getting closer to the top when the trees got smaller and then there were no more trees at all. Here is Mckinnon Pass:

We were at the same level at the clouds and wow, what a view!

I wore the shirt Ms. Ladd’s class made for me on my climb! There were signs all over to watch out so you didn’t fall over the edge!

This is me at the top! I was so proud of myself for making it!

This is a view looking back at the valley I had walked through the day before. I came a long way!

The way down the mountain was even harder than the climb up! One of the mountain tops had a lot of snow on it, and to keep us safe, the rangers made all the hikers walk down the “emergency track” so that we would be safe if there was an avalanche! Yikes! Because it was a track that wasn’t used a lot, it was very rough; there were trees growing in the path and my knees and ankles were really tired from all the excercise.

But it was still beautiful! The whole way down, there were so many waterfalls!

The biggest waterfall in New Zealand (and the 5th biggest one in the WORLD!) is called Sutherland falls and it was right after a place to rest and get tea. I got to put down my pack and walk to see it.

There were lots of signs on the trail to tell you information.

The trail was really rocky here! I thought this was a good example of what a lot of the path looked like! It was hard to figure out where to put your feet!

Can you see all the mist coming off of the falls? It felt like a shower! All of the falling water made a wind that was nice and cool.

This is me on a wire bridge, crossing a river! The bridge was really bouncy!

Here I am at ANOTHER water fall! This one is named for John Mckay.

The whole time, I was walking with two other ladies named Elinor and Ingrid. Elinor is from Israel and Ingrid is from Holland. They were so nice, we became really good friends! By the time we were getting to the end of the trail on the 4th day, we were really tired. I was so happy to be close to the end.

There were little posts in the ground every mile. This is the maker for 33 miles, we were almost at the end of the trail!

I finally made it to the end! I was ready for a shower and to sleep in a real bed and my muscles were really sore from walking 7 hours a day for four days but wow! I am so proud of myself that I finished it!

Here is a picture of all of the people I got to be friends with while I was hiking. Some were from America, some were from New Zealand. There were also people from Australia, Germany, Israel and Holland.

We had to take a boat back through the Milford Sound to get to a hotel to spend the night. Here we are waiting to get on the boat. Isn’t the scenery beautiful?

These are my friends Troy and Devin looking tired once we were sitting on the boat.

Here are Elinor and Ingrid….also looking tired!

Milford Sound is one of the most stunning places on Earth. The mountains plunge right down into the water.

The next day I went on a kayak tour of Milford Sound. I got up really early in the morning to get in a boat and see all of the animals in the Sound up close. Being on the water was very quiet and peaceful. I was afraid I would get soaking wet or fall into the water but I didn’t do either! I stayed pretty dry considering I was in a plastic boat.

Our kayaking guide had us put our boats together like a raft so he could tell us interesting facts about the history of the Milford Sound. Did you know that there is salt water AND fresh water in the Sound? That means that all different kind of animals can live there!

It was one of the coolest things I have ever done! I was so tired at the end, it was hard to climb stairs, my legs were so sore! But the neatest part about it was that I did it! I climbed a mountain! I am so proud of myself that I had a challenge and didn’t give up! Yay for me!

As I said in my last quick post, I’m living in Sydney, Australia, now. It is really different from New Zealand, super super hot and humid! I’m working in another cafe to earn some money before I go to Hong Kong! Also, I am using my time here to make lots of lists about what to pack for this next part of my trip, buy tickets to things and read all about where I’m going. It is good planning time.

I love all of you, I hope that you are having a good winter! Keep writing and commenting, I love to hear from you!

Lots of love,

Miss Young

My mom sent me this, she made it just for you! It is so good to see my Polly Girl doing well and she is being very well fed! The man holding Polly at the end of the video is my step-Dad, Dan. He loves Polly, too! What a great cat!

Here is what my mom wrote:

I thought your students might enjoy seeing this little bit of video of Miss Polly Cat. I’m glad it includes a view of her running up the stairs – because she does that a LOT! She still seems to feel most comfortable upstairs, so that’s where we’ve kept her little box and her food and water. She always takes her naps upstairs on her own bed, too. But she has gotten pretty used to exploring the first floor of the house. She really liked the Christmas tree when it was up!

So, here you go!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlFiWDlawX0

Thanks to my mom for making this!

Happy New Year to you all! I am writing a big post about my hiking trip that should go up later this week but I have been getting so many emails that I wanted to say a quick “hello!” from Sydney, Australia!

I got here on the 19th of December and boy is it hot! It feels like New York does in the summer time: hot and sticky! But this is only the beginning of summer and people say that it gets worse! Holy cow! I think my skin might melt off! Just kidding, but it sure is warm.

I hope you all are getting my postcards. I sent them from New Zealand and some of you have gotten them already! I am sorry to say that I lost the addresses for my students at the end of the alphabet (silly teacher) so instead of sending your cards to your house, I sent them to the school. I hope you don’t mind getting a special delivery from your teacher!

I love you all so much, keep the emails coming, I love getting them and I promise I will always write back.

Many hugs to my wonderful students!
Lots of love,
Miss Young

I’m sure that Mala has told you by now but we got to talk on Skype the other day! I was on my computer in Nelson and she and her dad were on the computer in Brooklyn and we got to talk! It was especially neat since we both have cameras on our computers so we could see each other! I got to see Mala’s new missing teeth and she got to see me without my glasses.

 

Lots of you have asked why I’m not wearing my glasses in a lot of the pictures I post here. The answer is this: the sunshine in the Southern Hemisphere (the bottom half of the Earth) is REALLY strong! Even in the wintertime, the light looks much sharper here and can sometimes have what is called “glare” where you have to squint your eyes to see. I want to protect my eyes by wearing sunglasses so I went out before I left New York to get contact lenses. That way, I can wear sunglasses and still see where I am walking. That is a good thing!

Mala hugged me through the screen! Thanks to her dad for this picture

 

Today I am getting ready for my biggest adventure in New Zealand: I am going to hike on a thing called the Milford Track. It is a trail that goes through the woods and alongside a river and over a mountain pass and it is going to take me FOUR DAYS! Luckily, there are little cabins to stay in along the way, so I don’t get wet or get eaten by bugs. I will let you all know how it goes when I get back to Nelson in about a week. I am looking forward to taking lots and lots of pictures while being out in the fresh air.

And…….HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE! I am very sad to be away from all of you during this, my favorite of all holidays. There is no Thanksgiving in New Zealand, they didn’t have the Pilgrims like we did in the United States. Plus, the weather is getting really warm here, remember it is the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere, so it doesn’t feel much like turkey weather, but I am wishing all of you lots of hugs and gobble gobbles!!! I am thankful to have all of you in my life, even if I am far away!

Lots of love,
Miss Young

Hello, chickadees!

Today I wanted to tell you about my trip to Sydney, Australia. I went to see my best friend, Miss Welden, who has lived there for two years. She is getting married next October and to celebrate, she and her almost-husband had a big party. I was in Sydney once before, but I didn’t have any fun because it rained all the time and I broke my foot! Harrumph! This time was much better. First of all, the weather was beautiful! It was a relief since Nelson has still been coldish and rainy!

The sky was so perfectly blue that day! This is the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

The sky was so perfectly blue that day! This is the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

I got an all day pass for the trains in Sydney. Their trains are different from the one in New York because Sydney trains have more than one level! They are double decker trains! The platforms in the Sydney stations have little electronic boards that tell you how many minutes you have to wait for your train, which I think is a super idea. We should start doing that in New York, I think. The coolest thing about my all day pass, though, was that it meant I could ride the ferry. Sydney is built around a harbor, just like New York, but people use boats to get around a lot more than I have seen in Brooklyn! It gave me a great view of the city.

A view of the city from the ferry boat.

A view of the city from the ferry boat.

There are lots of famous sites in a small amount of space. The most famous thing is probably the Sydney Opera House which looks like no other building in the world. It reminds me of a peeled orange in sections or petals of a flower. When you see it in person, it is hard to take your eyes off of it, it is just so unusual. I also think that it looks different in all kinds of light so you could show up early early in the morning and take a picture of it, and come back to the exact same spot later in the day and get a different picture. I love this building.
The famous Opera House in Sydney.

The famous Opera House in Sydney.

The other cool thing (and famous thing) we got to see was the Sydney Harbor Bridge, which is famous, just like the Brooklyn Bridge. People can know which bridge it is just by looking at it, it is that famous. We got to go under the bridge on the ferry boat so I got to take pictures really close up! I liked seeing the underside of the bridge and getting clues on how it was made.

We went under the bridge on the boat

We went under the bridge on the boat

We went to a little penninsula called Balmain, it was so pretty!

We went to a little penninsula called Balmain, it was so pretty!

Puffy clouds!

Puffy clouds!

Me on the ferry boat! Yay, Sydney!
Me on the ferry boat! Yay, Sydney!

And here is a picture of me in front of the bridge and the opera house!

 

Sydney's version of Coney Island is called Luna Park.
Sydney’s version of Coney Island is called Luna Park.

It was such a lovely day, the weather was perfect and the ferry boat was the perfect way to see Sydney. If I were writing a review of it, I would give it two thumbs up!

I miss you, chickadees! I have been working so hard that sometimes it is hard to have enough time to update the blog but I love getting your comments and emails, it keeps a smile on my face! so keep them coming!
Lots of love,
Miss Young

 

 

 

I hope Miss Murphy won’t mind if I put up a letter she wrote me as well as a letter I wrote her back. I know the updates have been slow lately but I don’t want any of you to think that I’m not thinking about you because I AM! I have barely had two days off in a row for a long time! More pictures to come later this week!

Miss Murphy wrote me:

hi miss.young how are you? I miss you so much our class is going to skype you.For halloween I am going as a vampire and Harry is going as luke sky walker from stars wars the clone wars I had such busy weekends of sleepovers well thats all for now! LOL(lots of love) SOPHIA

And I wrote back:

My dearest Miss Murphy! I miss you so much!!!!!

I got your postcard and it made me cry to think of you! Did you know that you are the only person who has written me with pen and paper? Other people (including you) have emailed but only one has written me a postcard and now it is up on the wall in my room! I read it to all of my housemates and they thought you must be pretty smart and wonderful, which of course, you are!

I am okay, I am just getting over being sick AGAIN! I am tried of getting colds! The weather is just changing here from winter into spring so everyone is sick but it is no fun. I feel better now but my nose is still all stuffy and I have to blow it all the time, yuck! I am also homesick! I miss my students and my family so much, I think about you all the time and what you all must be doing! It is hard being away from home but I am trying to be brave. Now that I have made friends at the restaurant I’m working at, I feel better. I also live in a big house where we are all getting along and it is nice to have friends at home to ask me how my day went, but I miss New York and 2-227 for sure!

Halloween sounds like so much fun! You will be an excellent vampire! People don’t really celebrate Halloween here, not as much as we do in America, but I have seen some decorations in stores for people to buy. Mostly that garland stuff that is like wire with little plastic jack-o-lanterns on it, I think Miss Wilkes put some up last year.

I have been really busy working at the restaurant, especially since the schools here are on a two week vacation so I am not teaching right now. Most days I come in really really early to open up the restaurant. That means I have to sweep and mop and set all the tables to make it ready for customers to come in and have brunch. I’ve also learned to make fancy coffee! But since I’m working so early, sometimes I just come home and fall asleep instead of going to the library to write on the blog or to email my family. I need to work on that.

Tell me about 3rd grade! What sorts of stuff are you learning? Are you getting along with people in your class? Have you made any new friends?

Lots of love, my dear, I think I will post this on the blog to give people an update about how I am doing!

xoxoxo,
Miss Young

What a busy two weeks it has been, my chickadees! I have barely been at my apartment in Nelson or had time to check in on how third grade is going. Thank you to those of you who have written, it has been really nice to hear from you. All your teachers have said that you are awesome students and I agree!

Whew! Let me tell you about the last couple of weeks! I really want to share my adventure on the glacier with you. Remember, a glacier is an ancient river of ice that has been around for a million years! It just melts really…….really……slowly…..so it is still around. Lots of scientists study how fast glaciers melt because that sort of information gives us lots of clues about the environment and how hot the Earth is getting. Cool, huh?

The glacier is in a town called Franz Josef and it is called….the Franz Josef Glacier! The map of where the town is can be seen here. It took me 10 hours to get here on the bus! But since it was rainy and sunny and rainy and sunny the whole ride down the West coast, I counted 8 rainbows during my ride! The last one was complete from beginning to end and right next to our bus! It was so cool to see, I didn’t mind the long ride or the rain!

The rainbow was so strong, it went right down to the ground on both sides! Can you see the double?

The rainbow was so strong, it went right down to the ground on both sides! Can you see the double?

The next day I went hiking on the glacier! There is a company in the town where experienced people called guides take hikers up and make sure that they are safe on all of that slippery ice! They have been up on the glacier so many times that they know all the best paths and ways to get over parts that are tough to climb. My guide took me and the 8 other people in my group to a river bed where we would start our hike.

This is from the valley about a mile from the base of the glacier. You can see how small the people are in comparison.

This is from the valley about a mile from the base of the glacier. You can see how small the people are in comparison.

As we got closer it was a little hard to walk on all the rocks on the river bed. I kept having to look at the ground to make sure that I wouldn’t slip. We also had to wade across the river during one part because there was no other was across! Awesome! I was glad I was wearing water-proof boots, my feet stayed nice and toasty! After a lot of walking, we got to the base of the glacier.

There it is! That is a lot of ice!!!

There it is! That is a lot of ice!!!

It looked so tall once I was right at the bottom! I wasn’t sure that I would be able to climb that high, especially on ice. That is when our guide gave all of us “crampons” that are metal spikey things that you tie on to your boots when you are climbing on ice or snow. We really needed them since the rocks that were piled up on the bottom of the glacier gave way to solid, thick, SLIPPERY ice!

This was the first part we had to climb over. Thank goodness for "crampons".

This was the first part we had to climb over. Thank goodness for "crampons".

It was a hard, steep climb, even with spikes on my shoes! But once we got on top, it was so beautiful!!!

This is the view from the top of the first rise. The little island looking thing in the middle of the picture is where the glacier USED to stretch to in the 1900's when people started hiking here. It sure has shrunk.

This is the view from the top of the first rise. The little island looking thing in the middle of the picture is where the glacier USED to stretch to in the 1900's when people started hiking here. It sure has shrunk.

The ice has lots of layers that got added on one season at a time and when you see it from the side, you can see the stripes, kind of like the rings of a tree. I was also really surprised that the ice looked so blue!

We all walked in a big line though all the canyons of ice. You can also see the rocks here.

We all walked in a big line though all the canyons of ice. You can also see the rocks here.

My guide said that because it was a cloudy day, you could really see the true color of the ice and I had never seen blue ice before. I was really amazed, I had never seen anything like it. Also, the surface of the glacier isn’t smooth, it is full of hills and valleys and canyons all made out of ice!

Look at how blue the ice is!

Look at how blue the ice is!

Just hanging out on the glacier!

Just hanging out on the glacier!

These are the steep steps that our guide carved into the ice so we could get into the deep valleys of the glacier.

These are the steep steps that our guide carved into the ice so we could get into the deep valleys of the glacier.

So deep!

So deep!

The only problem with the weather being cloudy was all the awful weather it brought! It hailed (little balls of ice) 3 DIFFERENT TIMES while I was up on the glacier! The wind was also so strong that there were times when me and the rest of my group had to wait in the ice canyons for the wind to stop or if we were walking on the top of one, we just had to stop and duck down so the wind wouldn’t blow us over!! It was crazy! I wasn’t that scared since my guide was such an expert but I admit that it was not something I would like to do every day. It was so bad that we had to turn around at about lunch time even though we had planned to be on the ice until around 4 in the afternoon, it wasn’t safe any more.  When we got back down, the guide said that he had never hiked in weather that bad before and that it was a once in a lifetime experience! I agree! What a fun time!

My next post will be about my trip to Sydney, Australia, I was there for almost a week seeing Miss Welden, my best friend. I’ll try to post over the weekend about what I thought about Sydney and some pictures, too!

Lots of love,

Miss Young

Hello, chickadees!
Right now I’m in Sydney, Australia, visiting my best friend Miss Welden. I was thinking about all of you this week as you start 3rd grade! How exciting! I know all of your teachers love you already and we are teacher-friends so they know all about you and how wonderful you are! I wish I had been there to see you on your first day of 3rd grade, I’m sure you all did so well, I am so proud of you!

I have had a lot of adventures lately, it is hard to find the time to write them all down! Since I didn’t bring my computer to Sydney, all the pictures of my glacier adventure are still at home in New Zealand. I get back to Nelson on Tuesday and will go to the library Wednesday to post them online and tell you about hiking on the glacier. Then I’ll tell you all about Sydney and how beautiful it is here (not to spoil the surprise, but….it is gorgeous! Sydney reminds me a lot of New York).

I love you all and I’m thinking about you TONS as you start this new school year! Write me to tell me how it went!

Lots of love,
Miss Young

Hello, chickadees!

This week has been so busy, I wanted to check in and let you know what I am up to in record time!

Right now, right this VERY MINUTE, I am in a town called Franz Josef on the western coast of New Zealand.
View Larger Map

Tomorrow, I’ll be hiking on a glacier! Do you know what a glacier is? It is kind of like a river of ice that is left over from long long ago. A lot of the world’s glaciers are gone, but the Franz Josef Glacier is still in existance! Here is a site all about glaciers for you to look at.

I will write all about it once I get back to Nelson but I wanted you to come up with any questions you can think of about glaciers or find a fact that you thought was interesting and put in in the comments section! That way we can have a discussion using the computer instead of our old classroom.

My time on the computer is running out but I am thinking about you all as you get ready to start the 3rd grade! Yahoo for you!

Lots of love,
Miss Young

Last Sunday, the Crowes and I went salmon fishing. When I think of salmon fishing, I usually think of a big bear waiting by a waterfall to catch the salmon while they are swimming upstream. But this was really different! We went to a place called a hatchery where the fish are hatched and grown and then sold in stores and to restaurants. This way, the fish aren’t taken out of the wild. It is a pretty neat idea. The people at the hatchery feed the fish all sorts of healthy food and make sure that they are safe for people to eat. Here is website for the hatchery.

The hatchery was outside of a little town call Takaka (pronounced: TAH-kuh-ka) that is near Golden Bay. Here is a map of where it is! The town is small and full of farms. I noticed a lot of mailboxes that were painted in fun designs with bright colors. How cool!

The clouds were so low, it looked like they were hugging the hills!

The clouds were so low, it looked like they were hugging the hills!

When we pulled up to the hatchery, there were some very large friends waiting to greet us.

This is the gateway into the hatchery. Those salmon were HUGE!!!

This is the gateway into the hatchery. Those salmon were HUGE!!!

There was also a sign that had the word “hello” listed in a ton of different languages. I think this means that anyone is welcome and that lots of people from all over the world come to visit.

How many ways can you think of to say "hello"? How many are listed on this board?

How many ways can you think of to say "hello"? How many are listed on this board?

The hatchery was laid out in a very logical way. There were three tanks where the fish live when they are just hatched and are too little to eat. When the fish get big and strong, the workers move them into a pond and then people can come and catch the fish themselves. One of the coolest facts I learned while I was there was that all the fish at this hatchery are girl fish. To make boy fish, the eggs that the fishies hatch out of have to be a certain temperature. And since it is just easier to have one kind of fish in the pond (less fighting, I imagine) the workers control the temperature of the eggs so that they just grow girls. Cool, huh?

The growing tanks are in the front and shaped like rectangles. Some of them are covered to give the fish shade. The pond is in the back.

The growing tanks are in the front and shaped like rectangles. Some of them are covered to give the fish shade. The pond is in the back.

The pond.

The pond.

Now you might think that this is just a regular pond. But you would be wrong! This pond is so full of fish that you can see them swimming around  at the edges of the lake and hear the splash of fish JUMPING RIGHT OUT OF THE WATER!!

That big circle is a splash mark from a huge salmon that just JUMPED RIGHT OUT OF THE WATER! AWESOME!

That big circle is a splash mark from a huge salmon that just JUMPED RIGHT OUT OF THE WATER! AWESOME!

We checked out fishing rods from a little office and then we picked out a spot on the far side of the lake. There were all sorts of animals that live at the hatchery including a dog, chickens, sheep and a peacock! I saw this sheep while I was looking for a space to fish.

It was so close to me! And didn't think I was very interesting,  might I add.

It was so close to me! And didn't think I was very interesting, might I add.

Say "cheese", sheepie!

Say "cheese", sheepie!

Here in NZ, people call chicken "chooks" which is a lot more fun to say than "chicken".

Here in NZ, people call chicken "chooks" which is a lot more fun to say than "chicken".

We picked a place with a lot of “chooks” running around so Keavy would have something to watch  (she was too little to fish) and we threw our hooks in the water! Fishing in a normal river or pond sometimes takes a long time and sometimes you don’t catch any fish at all…..but at this pond, the odds were in our favor. We didn’t even have to use bait! Alex caught the first fish of the day in about 5 minutes of trying! Yay, Alex! Shannagh was next and then Ciaran and even Alex’s Nana caught a fish and I hadn’t caught anything yet! A couple of times, I felt a little fish friend nibble on my line but none of them had taken a big chomp yet. So I waited…..

Suddenly, I felt a tug on my line! The fishing wire was going crazy in the water darting all over the place! I started to reel in my fish but it kept trying to swim away! Someone got a net and got it ready, it felt like reeling in my fish took 5 whole minutes instead of only 1 or 2, it was fighting really hard! Once I pulled it out of the water, we put it in a net.

Yay! I caught a fish!

Yay! I caught a fish!

Then I realized that the fish was still flopping and alive and that we would have to make it be NOT alive to eat it. I will be honest, that made me really sad and scared. But I think it was good to see where the living things that we eat come from. They don’t grow on farms with plastic wrap around them!

I'm not sure how I feel about catching the fishie. I think in this picture I had just realized that now I have to eat the thing that is currently alive.

I'm not sure how I feel about catching the fishie. I think in this picture I had just realized that now I have to eat the thing that is currently alive.

I also had a chance to respect and thank the fish for being my dinner. If I hadn’t caught the fish, someone else would have, being eaten is what they are born to do. But still.

My fish! Thank you to Alex's grandad for taking care of the icky part for me.

My fish! Thank you to Alex's grandad for taking care of the icky part for me.

A little gruesome but this is how we get fish to the table.

A little gruesome but this is how we get fish to the table.

When everyone who wanted to (or who could hold a fishing rod) had caught their fish, we loaded them up in a bucket and took them back to a little area back near the office of the hatchery to be cleaned and cut up.

A man in the shop weighed all of our fish for us. Mine was just over 2.2 pounds!

A man in the shop weighed all of our fish for us. Mine was just over 2.2 pounds!

This man was an expert at cutting up fish! He wore two plastic gloves to protect himself from germs and one glove that was made of metal links (like a very tiny chain fence that moved like fabric) so that he wouldn’t cut himself while he was working. He was so good at cutting up fish! He split the fish up the belly, took all the guts out and took off the head. He also took out most of the fish bones with a special fish knife. When he was done with my fish, all that was left are the parts you can eat! They were such a beautiful pink color, I was so proud of catching my fish!

That's my fish! All cleaned out and ready to be smoked!

That's my fish! All cleaned out and ready to be smoked!

Then the fish went on a rack to be flavored with smoke from special wood chips. We all decided to get our fish smoked so we shared a big rack to go into the smoker.

Our whole catch was smoked at the same time.

Our whole catch was smoked at the same time.

A smoker is a big metal box that is hot, hot, hot! I could feel the heat even from far away! I think this one was heated by coals. The worker sprinkled wood chips on the coals and then laid our rack of fish inside. This way the fish was cooked with the smoky flavor of the wood chips.

The worker is spreading wood ships into this smoking contraption to give the fish a yummy woodsy flavor. It was more that 300 degrees celcius in that thing!

The worker is spreading wood ships into this smoking contraption to give the fish a yummy woodsy flavor. It was more that 300 degrees celcius in that thing!

While we waited for the fish to be ready to eat, Alex and Shannagh found a peacock that lived at the hatchery! It was busy squawking at a dog. It was funny to watch!

Alex and Shannagh found the peacock while we were waiting for the salmon to cook. A dog that lives at the hatchery does not get along with this peacock!

Alex and Shannagh found the peacock while we were waiting for the salmon to cook. A dog that lives at the hatchery does not get along with this peacock!

Gorgeous!

Gorgeous!

Finally the fish was ready! It was served in the neatest way, I totally didn’t expect it! See if you can tell what it is in the next picture…..

All of our fillets were laid out in a pizza box after smoking! The fresh bread we made and brought with us is in the back of the picture.

All of our fillets were laid out in a pizza box after smoking! The fresh bread we made and brought with us is in the back of the picture.

We had pieces of the fish on bread that Alex’s Grandad made that morning. We put butter on the bread and squeezed a little lemon juice on top and…….an incredibly delicious lunch! It tasted so fresh, and so smoky and so simple! It was one of the best meals of my life!

Alex's mom caught me in the middle of a good long chew.

Alex's mom caught me in the middle of a good long chew.

DEEEE-LICIOUS!

DEEEE-LICIOUS!

I had such a great time! Thanks, Crowes and Frys for bringing me along for the ride! Or, I should say, along for the fish!