Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Another Great Walk

Snow on Day Two of the Routeburn Track
At the Key Summit on Day Three of the Routeburn Track

Rain on day one, snow on day two, and perfect blue skies on day three.  What a hike!  Despite being a bit wet and cold, we loved the Routeburn Track!  The track was about 35 km total with quite steep climbs and descents.  

We started the hike pretty early on the first day, so once we made it to our first hut at Routeburn Falls, we immediately chose our bunks and laid out our sleeping bags (which we were so thankful to have).  We then stayed near the coal stove in the main common room of the hut to dry out from the rainy day.  This time we heard the huts had gas burners, so we got a bit smarter and brought a can of garbanzo beans that we heated up for dinner.  Excellent!  There were some great people in the hut, so we had fun chatting and playing card games.  The only thing missing was s'mores.  New Zealanders have never even heard of s'mores!

We stayed plenty warm overnight, but woke up to several people in the bunk room saying "it's snowing!"  We definitely didn't bargain for that (after all, it's summer down here!).  We did the best we could by layering up with all of the clothes that we brought, topped off with our waterproof gear.  Unfortunately, our gloves weren't waterproof, so that is one change that we would have made.  The track on the second day was above the tree line, so the trail was exposed for the entire 11.3 km.  About three inches of snow fell while we were hiking, and someone even built a pretty good snowman alongside the trail.  This was definitely our toughest day of hiking, but 4 hours and 45 minutes later we made it to the Lake Mackenzie Hut.  After another round of drying everything off, we spent the evening around the fire.

We woke up to a perfect blue sky and crisp temperatures on our final day.  Such a treat after the first two days!  This also meant that we would get to see some nice views, which we had missed on the first two legs.  The last leg was really fun, and we even took a side trail up to a summit for amazing 360 degree views of the New Zealand fiordland.  

Despite the conditions, we both really loved the hike (it was David's favorite so far).  Another Great Walk! 

A collage of our hike on the Routeburn Track

From left to right:
Picture 1: A swinging bridge at the start of day one - before the rain.
Picture 2: A nice view of the river on day one - before the rain.
Picture 3: The common room at Routeburn Falls Hut.
Picture 4: The deck at Routeburn Falls Hut.
Picture 5: The Routeburn Falls, which gave our first hut its name.
Picture 6: David in the snow at the start of day two.
Picture 7: Lake Harris, not as pretty as on a sunny day.
Picture 8: Lake Mackenzie - the snow finally stopped after dinner on day two. 
Picture 9: A view back over the range that we crossed.


  1. Just beautiful!! I'm so glad you are keeping us updated! I LOVE reading your blog, sort of like we are with you on your adventure!