14.12.2010 21 °C
Four days ago my Mum and I went on the Routeburn Track, a tramp that traverses 32 km in Mount Aspiring and Fiordland national park. The first day we hiked to the Routeburn Falls Hut. We started our track by crossing a swing bridge the first suspension bridge of 8 that day.
The first part of the 5.5hour hike we did was in a beach forest that was doted with rivers and streams. Slowly as the day progress the hike began to head upward until we got to a place where a slip (rock fall) had happened in 1994 and we got an amazing view of the valley below.
Beautiful Sight; Also Beautiful; Ayden, where the glaciers met.
Then we went on a bit further and stopped for lunch in a little clearing. In New Zealand when you do back country tramping you have an option to camp or to stay in huts that are maintained by the Department of Conservation. On this tramp we were going to stay in 2 different huts along the route. When we got to the first hut, The Routeburn Falls hut, we were surprised at how big the hut was (2 bunkrooms with a total of 50 bunks, a kitchen area with gas stoves, fire place and sinks with cold running water, flush toilet bathrooms!!) and the amazing view from the porch of the hut.
First Hut; Ayden in the Nice Hut with his Boots Off; Gwen and Ayden; Hut . . . some hut . . . I guess the whole tramping trek doesn't have to be wild
That night we had Cheesy Bacon Spuds for supper. This meal we made ahead of time at our campsite so that we would only have to add boiling water to the mixture to get a tasty dinner. The next day we got up, ate breakfast, then packed up and headed to the second hut on the journey, Lake Mackenzie Hut. To get to this hut we went throw a sub-alpine section.
Ayden by Glaciel Lake; Blanket of Clouds
The climb to the half way hut was steep and challenging. When we got to the Harris Saddle half way hut (1255m) we had a small snack then continued on our way.
After the half way hut the journey was a series of ups and downs across the exposed saddle of the mountain. As we hiked we watched to fog lifting so that we could get glimpses of the mountain ranges around us as well as the Hollyford Valley. It was very windy on the top and ridge of the mountain we were very glad that we had started our hike early so that we did not have to contend with the strong winds and rain that came through later that afternoon. Towards the end of the second days hike the track went steeply down entering the protected treed area of the mountain again. It was very welcoming to walk out of a section of forest and see our next hut, Mackenzie hut waiting for us.
Bunks in the Hut; You Knew We'd Show Some Snow Capped Mountains; Good Bye Hut; Kitchen in Hut
After we set ourselves up in this hut, I was able to go and explore a glacier moraine with another boy, James that was also doing the hike. The rocks of this moraine are covered with deep, deep, moss and trees. It was a great place to explore.
On the final day we woke up to rain and the weather forecast for the day was for rain which would be heavy at times. As we ate our breakfast we noticed that the rain was starting to ease up a bit. So we decided to hit the track by about 9:00am. It was still raining and had been raining all night long so as we tramped we had to cross flooded streams and many waterfall so are feet got wet. Although the wet track made tramping a bit tougher it also made the waterfalls all that much more powerful. In order to get out of the rain while we ate our lunch we decided that we would stop at another hut (Routeburn Flats Hut) for lunch. It was really nice to get inside and out of our wet gear and eat some warm soup for lunch. We were really glad that the DOC officer had the fire going in the hut. From this final hut we were lucky that the rain stopped and actually the sun came out! We meet Dad and Claire at the parking lot at the end of the track (called The Divide).
Now a few words from Mum about the tramp.
The Routeburn Track is amazing! Yes, you are hiking in the mountains so do experience tough climbs and tricky descents, but at the same time you get to see simply fabulous views and be ‘in’ some of New Zealand’s most beautiful land. Above all I am trilled to have had the chance to share this amazing experience with Ayden. Our trip together is something that I know both of us will remember and cherish for our lives. Thanks for a wonderful three days Ayden. You are an ideal tramping companion.
While Ayden and Gwen were tramping across mountains and sleeping in huts, Claire and Paul decided to “Zip” around Queenstown. They accomplished this by taking the Skyline Gondola up a local mountain where you can do such things as luge on asphalt, race mountain bikes down the steep declines or do the Flying Fox Ziptrek, which Claire and Paul did.
Claire and Paul in Gondola; View From Gondola; View From Luge Observation Spot
This consists of harnessing yourself in and attaching a pulley to a large cable that is strung amongst the trees. Don’t worry, this is no where near as crazy as canyon swinging.
Claire in Zip Gear; Paul in Harness
Claire was quite the zipper as she bravely headed out before Paul every time. This included one time when the guides got her to flip upside down as she was zipping.
We had a fun filled 2 hours of zipping followed by a short hike. The two of us packed up camp the next morning, drove to Te Anau and set up camp. Claire was very good at packing and unpacking as Paul carried the stuff to and from the car and she organized it.