crystalann_b Mount Cook towers over the surrounding landscape as seen from Lake Matheson near Fox Glacier.
A few of my recent hiking adventures have been shared on @theoutbound - check out their website for the background story on how to get to many of the locations I've photographed! #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wildernessculture #wearealladventurers #whateveryouradventure #exploremore
5d

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crystalann_b The summit of 1490 meter Trident in Kahurangi National Park with the rugged Dragon's Teeth as a backdrop. #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #Trident #Kahurangi #moretoexplore #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wildernessculture #wearealladventurers #whateveryouradventure @macpac 1w

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crystalann_b Evening calm at Adelaide Tarn deep in the heart of Kahurangi National Park

After a warm day broken by periods of thick fog I was glad to see the sunset clearly illuminate the peaks surrounding Adelaide Tarn. Only thirty minutes before taking this photo fog was spilling through the window of the hut and the basin was completely hidden in a veil of thick white. The clouds lifted just in time for sunset and then rolled back in. I included the small hut in the photo because the scene so accurately captures classic New Zealand tramping and the extensive hut system that dominates the backcountry. This hut was the first "basic" hut I've stayed in and certainly has its own character.
Making it to this spot was quite the adventure! We hiked in thick fog and oppressive humidity to Boulder Lake and arrived just as the clouds lifted slightly to reveal the hut on the far side of the lake. We went for a dip in a perfect swimming hole beneath a picturesque waterfall before settling in for the night. The next day we bashed our way through tussock and forest to the scrubby ridge leading to Adelaide Tarn. The first view of the Adelaide Tarn basin framed by the rugged Dragon's Teeth is a beautiful sight to behold. After spending time at the tarn we climbed up to the summits of Trident and Mount Douglas and waited for a view of the surrounding mountains on the tops that appeared to be islands in a sea of clouds. What a great experience in what is possibly the most beautiful part of the park! #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wonderful_places #wearealladventurers #whateveryouradventure #moretoexplore
1w

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crystalann_b Another view from the vantage point of Mount Olivier - the length of the Mueller Glacier and the peaks above in the first light of dawn #NewZealand #moretoexplore #neverstopexploring #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wildernessculture #wearealladventurers #whateveryouradventure 2w

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crystalann_b Golden morning clouds over Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, the two tallest peaks in New Zealand, reflected in Lake Matheson as captured from Reflection Island.
After visiting this famed lake last year and seeing nothing but grey clouds, I was ecstatic to find this scene on last Friday's visit. I tried to make Thursday a perfect photography day by shooting the sunrise at the Mueller Hut and then driving 6 hours to Lake Matheson for sunset. Although @wmolland and I pushed the limits of speed over Haast Pass we arrived with little time to spare and found the mountains obscured in cloud. I then had to take the second best option and go for sunrise. I awoke to find the jagged peaks crowned by a backdrop of glowing red clouds and quickly made my way around the twisting forest path of the lake. I found another photographer at Reflection Island who had a motion controlled timelapse set up - how awesome! We both watched as a cool grey dawn turned to gold as the sun rose. The drifting mist off the lake surface added a special element as did the many bird calls and flights across the lake. What an ideal place to bring in the second day of the new year! Each time I visit the glacier region I am astounded by the deep valleys and the dramatic rise of the Southern Alps from the sea. As with every place I visit, a walk to the terminal face of these glaciers or a morning spent at Lake Matheson reminds me of why I chose to come to this far off country that was so unlike anything I had seen before yet so full of the best lifestyles and landscapes one could imagine. In this new year I'm feeling settled with my life in New Zealand and embracing adventure and discovery at every turn. #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wildernessculture #wearealladventurers #whateveryouradventure
3w

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crystalann_b A grand morning spent among giants - Mount Sefton, the Footstool, and Aoraki as seen from Mount Olivier in Mount Cook National Park #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wonderful_places #wildernessculture #wearealladventurers #whateveryouradventure @macpac 3w

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crystalann_b The Mueller Hut in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park set against a perfect backdrop of majestic peaks - Mount Sefton, the Footstool, and the tallest of all, Aoraki. I was fortunate enough to bring in the new year from this fine vantage point on the ridge of Mount Olivier. As one of the first countries in the world to greet the day, watching the sunrise in New Zealand has special significance. The first morning of 2015 did not disappoint. We hiked to the Mueller Hut on New Year's Eve in drenching rain that turned to snow as we climbed in elevation. My rain gear did not stand up to the conditions and I was soaked upon arrival. Climbing 2,000 steps, hiking through gushing streams, and jumping waterfalls soaked my boots to the core. We were warned by visitor center staff that a few people had turned around due to the conditions but we decided to push on in order to be at the location for the forecasted clear weather the next day. The snow didn't stop until sometime in the night and I was worried that the scramble to the summit of Mount Olivier would prove challenging. However, when I woke at 5 a.m. I found perfectly clear skies and crisp air. To my surprise almost everyone in the hut woke before sunrise and climbed part way up the ridge. The enthusiasm for the sunrise was contagious and I hurried to a high point on the ridge with my friend. We watched as the tallest peaks in the land caught the first pink glow and listened to the crashing icefalls from the hanging glaciers all around us. The raw power of this landscape was evident everywhere we looked. The Mueller Glacier filled the valley beneath us and waterfalls poured from sheer cliffs above. The western view from the ridge encompassed range after range of mountains and opened to braided rivers glowing with light and shimmering Lake Pukaki to the east. Without a doubt the most impressive landscape I have experienced.
This photo only shows one piece of this fabulous landscape and falls short of representing its full glory. I'll post more over the next few days that will help piece together what I experienced on this morning. #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #whatgivesyoulife #wearethewild #wildernessculture
3w

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crystalann_b Monday morning sunrise as seen from Mount Arthur - after four days of rain over my weekend I made a quick trip to Mount Arthur to soak up the forecasted good weather before heading back to work. It was quite the long trip and I ended up hiking 28 miles in 30 hours. I hiked in from the Cobb Valley to a place along Mount Arthur's ridge to camp on Sunday night. I had hoped to camp on the summit but strong winds and low cloud changed my mind. After a stormy night, I summited the next morning before sunrise and watched a clear and calm morning unfold over the mountains and sea below. Clouds hung low in the valleys to the west but the sun rose bright and golden in the east. What I find most difficult about summit photography is choosing the best composition - it's so difficult to choose which view to photograph when they're all beautiful and unique. I chose to shoot due east and thus included Tasman Bay, Winter Peak, and the summit of Mount Arthur in the photo. This was an incredible sunrise experience and I wasn't ready to leave! After all I've seen and done in New Zealand so far it's amazing to think that this time last year I had yet to set foot in the country. What started as only a vacation this time last year has turned into so much more! #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wildernessculture #wearealladventurers #whateveryouradventure 1mon

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crystalann_b Morning tramping in Fiordland scale - @wmolland looking out over the Hollyford Valley to the mountains beyond. Just another grand view from the Routeburn! #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wildernessculture #wearealladventurers 2mon

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crystalann_b The ever beautiful Lake Mackenzie from above - taken from the tussock fields above the lake as the Routeburn Track winds along to Harris Saddle. Truly an incredible walk among mountain giants! #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #exploremore #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wildernessculture #wearealladventurers 2mon

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crystalann_b Mount Sefton dominates the landscape near the beginning of the Hooker Valley Track in Mount Cook National Park. I'm still working through my photos from last weekend's incredible trip! Thanks for standing in for scale @wmolland and for joining me on this beautiful morning! I often try to include a person in distant mountain scenes in an effort to portray the grand scale of the landscape that is often lost in photos. I love the way that mountains remind me of my insignificance and take focus away from the self. Although size is only one aspect of this, it's a tangible way to represent the overwhelming presence of a mountain landscape when you aren't able to feel it for yourself. #Aoraki #MountCook #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wildernessculture #wearealladventurers #pro_ig #jaw_dropping_shots 2mon

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crystalann_b Symmetry at Lake Mackenzie
Pictured: Lake Mackenzie, Ocean Peak, and Emily Peak in Fiordland National Park
After planning to tackle most of the Routeburn Track in a day from the road end to Lake Mackenzie after a spur of the moment decision to include the Great Walk in my weekend plans, I was surprised to find myself on an unexpected helicopter flight over the alpine section of the track! This surprising turn of events was the result of a closed section of track and empty seats on a helicopter that was assisting with the monitoring of avalanche conditions. What fun! My fellow hut warden friend and I just barely made it to this spectacular lake thanks to everything falling into place. I had a wonderful time photographing the lake and listening to stories from the local hut warden who hosted us for the night. Heavy rain and all around awful weather cleared for the day of our hike out and created this scene as well as enabled us to hike the alpine portion of the track we had previously skipped. I was in complete euphoria after spending time at the lake and reconnecting with the landscape of Fiordland that is second to none. The hike out over an alpine wonderland was brilliant! Lakes, waterfalls, deep valleys, and soaring snow-capped peaks created a visual overload of beauty. I cannot say enough for this track and the national parks it spans. You have to see it to believe it! #moretoexplore #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wonderful_places #pro_ig #jaw_dropping_shots
2mon

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crystalann_b I just returned from a whirlwind trip around the South Island of New Zealand! Highlights included the spectacular alpine paradise of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and the continually stunning Routeburn Track that links Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks. Revisiting my favorite places in this country was a wonderful experience!! Each day I am more impressed with the beauty of New Zealand. For this shot and the first leg of the journey we walked the Hooker Valley Track in the dim light of early morning to the track's namesake - Hooker Lake. We then watched the sunrise illuminate freshly snow covered peaks and the impressive face of New Zealand's tallest peak - Aoraki. Morning light in the Hooker Valley surrounded by towering peaks was certainly a highlight of my weekend. What a perfect morning! #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #pro_ig #airnzshareme #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wonderful_places 2mon

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crystalann_b Pictured: Boulder Lake, Darby Pond, Gladiator Peak, the Dragons Teeth and beyond in Kahurangi National Park as seen from the slopes of Brown Cow
On Sunday I decided to fit in one last adventure for my weekend - Boulder Lake in Kahurangi National Park. I knew it was quite a long tramp to the lake but hoped that one night's stay could encourage planning for future trips and would provide enough time to properly capture Boulder Lake. Both of these goals were met but not without difficulty! What I thought would be a straightforward route in, turned into a climbing and scrambling mess over downed trees that blocked the path. Most of the 7 hour approach was spent picking my way through windfall debris that had yet to be cleared for the summer season. When I finally topped out above the trees I was immensely thankful to see the lake below and the incredible rugged peaks in the distance. The effort had been worth it! I made my way down to the hut (a tiny speck on the left side of the tussock field behind the lake) and back up again with my camera to this gorgeous view for sunset. Sunset was not as dramatic as I'd hoped but I was left in awe of the scene regardless. The large lake and seemingly endless valleys and peaks coupled with the strange and unique vegetation of Kahurangi made this view classically New Zealand. Another 24 hours spent in complete solitude in Kahurangi's wilderness! I'm looking forward to what next weekend will bring.. #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #whatgivesyoulife #wearethewild
3mon

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crystalann_b I spent yesterday morning in the Marino Mountains of Kahurangi National Park waiting for the sun to rise over a freshly snow covered landscape. I arrived the afternoon before at Granity Pass Hut just as the storm rolled in. A few inches of hail quickly turned to snow as night fell. I set my alarm for 4:30 am and began the trek up the Ghost Valley under moonlight. I didn't know what to expect after the storm blew through. After making my way to Sanctuary Basin below Sentinel Hill - I set up this shot looking down the valley as the wind picked up and the clouds began to gather again. The distant mountains seen from the basin instantly grabbed my attention. Although I had planned to summit Mount Owen, I decided the snow depth was too much for my lack of equipment. I'll have to grab the highest peak in Kahurangi next month instead! My first backcountry venture in New Zealand was highlighted by seeing only two people near the trailhead after 24 hours spent in the wilderness! #whatgivesyoulife #wearethewild #wildernessculture #neverstopexploring #NewZealand #Kahurangi 3mon

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crystalann_b A moody sunset at Cape Farewell - the northernmost point of New Zealand's South Island. I just completed my first 8 days as a Hut Warden on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track! It's been quite the learning experience to say the least. Working as a Hut Warden is the definition of self sufficiency! I am responsible for everything going right or wrong at a hut and campground that can sleep a total of 40 people. The responsibility is a little unnerving but the experience is great! I'm loving the unplugged lifestyle but also find it difficult to stay active on social media. Today begins my first set of 6 days off - so my plan is to get into the mountains and share what I find with you! Any tips for Kahurangi National Park? Let me know!! 3mon

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crystalann_b Here's a shot from a few days ago - New Zealand's world famous day walk, Tongariro Crossing. I've had an incredibly active last two weeks and have found it difficult to update social media as a result. However, this gives a taste of what my first ten days in New Zealand were like. Now for more adventures in this great country! Thanks to @sierrabsweet for standing in for scale! #NewZealand #neverstopexploring #whatgivesyoulife #Tongariro 3mon

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crystalann_b Breaking storm clouds over the peaks of the San Juans as seen from Wilson Mesa. Of all the beautiful vantage points visited during my short trip - this was my favorite. The high plateau of grassy plains provides panoramic views in a directions. The mountains tower above this landscape in an abrupt and impressive way. I watched the sunset fade into clear evening light over endless hillsides of aspen forest as elk bugled in the distance. Perfect! Thanks to @davidkingham for showing me around yet again! #Telluride #WilsonMesa #wildernessculture #wearealladventurers #whatgivesyoulife #neverstopexploring 4mon

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crystalann_b Mount Sneffels in autumn twilight - as seen from County Road 7 near Ridgway, Colorado. After a dreary and cold day, fresh snow was revealed on the peaks of the San Juans. Thanks for showing me this spot @davidkingham ! #MountSneffels #SanJuans #Colorado #wearethewild #whatgivesyoulife #wildernessculture #neverstopexploring 4mon

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crystalann_b I just returned from my first autumn trip to the San Jaun Mountains of Colorado - a place I have been wanting to photograph for years. My visit convinced me that this is the most impressive mountain landscape in Colorado. I only wish I had more time to explore the wonders of this area. On this morning, I joined many other photographers in marveling at the ideal conditions - fresh snow, golden leaves, and dramatic skies - at Crystal Lake near Red Mountain Pass. Stay tuned for more! 4mon

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