A panoramic shot taken by my travel companion, of me taking pictures of the beautiful, breathtaking scenery in front of us during our sunset hike. There were black swans in that pond there (not really captured). Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. We went there to visit Mt. John Observatory. The area around it is protected against light pollution, by law. It measures 2 on the Bortle's Dark-Sky scale.
The only other night sky to out-awe this one, was discovering the night-sky in the foothills of the Himalayas.
We decided to go on an adventure, and stumble upon hiking trails, rather than take a trail map with us. We knew that when the sun set, and darkness hit, it would be really, really dark. But, we had to catch the sunset at the top of the mountain. By the time we caught it, and needing to come back down, it was a race against the sun, with no time to figure out which was the fastest route down. Going back the way we came, back into the thick woods, was not an option, given how dark it was quickly getting. So, we just pointed our feet towards the direction where we saw the closest town nestled below, and walked. Through shoulder-height grass with cockleburs getting caught in our socks. PAIN-FUCKING-FULL!!! To crickets chirping their displeasure at our disruption.
Jumping over (I'm sure) private property, over rusted fences (and my companion getting hand cut on the rusted steel fence), changing our walk to a run. All to outrun the setting sun. Wondering between laughter and shortness of breath, whether the idea for velco was inspired by cockleburs. Or if my companion now had tetanus. Giddy at the thought that there were only just us, up there, (stupid) enough to be up there that late, having veered off the main trail.