Saturday, April 14, 2007

one week of hiking, NZ

after cycling a couple weeks and a good part of the South Island of New Zealand i was actually a little bit weary beeing on the street and rented a big backpack, changed gear from the bike to the pack, put a weeks ration of food inside and walked with that heavy thing off from Queenstown into the Hills.
First part of the trip went over the Routeburn Track one of NZ's best knows tracks (the even more known one, the Milford Sound Track, was booked out for the next 2000 years) and fairly easy besides a bit of rain and the weight of my pack.
First day went to the Routeburn Flat Campsite, a patch of grass with roof und dunny sqeezed between mountians, waterfalls and overhanging glaciers. Since it rained on that day quite countinusly i was even more deligthed to see the next day a clear sky so packed my tent instandly and headed off ... somewhere at 5 or 6 in the morning. It was really nice ! The Track headed up the mountians into alpine zone to cross Harris saddle. From the saddle another way headed up a summit ... con something. After i started so early i had enough time to stay a good two hours up there, cooking, building stone stupas untill finally, the clouds ripped open a little for me to see far ahead the tasman see shimmering. And after i had that 30sec glimpse the clouds closed again i made the descent. Camp of the night was a couple hours later a Lake. Sandflies included.
Next day i broke camp early as well (its very easy while hiking, if i have to cycle its mostly way to cold to do anything before 8) and headed towards the Milford Sound where i arrived with blue skys and heaps of sun.
Very spectacular ! I reckon for the first time better then on postcards. Stayed a couple hours, tried to bargain with the cruiseship companys and headed then off towards my bike which was just another three days away through the Greenstone Valley, not as spectacular as the Routeburn but as nice, with lots of nature, less tourists and altogether really nice hiking, camping on beautyful lakes, walking through swamps, crossing rivers

. Made on my last day the stupid but brave attempt to go swimming as well, but after 30sec in the little bit chilly water i didnt felt my skin no more and needed more then two hours to warm up again.
Yeah and then finally the week was over and i funny enough - i really enjoyed sitting in front of the telly in a warm room and eating something differnt then re-hydrated noodles or rice. But was a really nice week !

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