Monday, April 7, 2008

And now, for something spectacular!

We got back from the Routeburn two days early due to rather inclement weather (I've also seen pictures of the views we were supposed to have seen, and the weather really hid a lot of amazing scenery!), so naturally we decided we weren't going to just sit around Queenstown or Christchurch killing time! Well, Buster did go off to Christchurch, but he had a flight to catch. Nate and I, instead, decided to drive up to Mt Cook, (or Aoraki, the Maori name), and do a little more trekking there. We'd found a nice trail that lead to a hut about 1000m up, where we could spend the night, then hike back down into town in the morning.

Goin' up!

There were two concerns - space and weather: the hut can only sleep 6 and you can't make reservations ahead of time, and there was no point in going up if we weren't going to be able to see the mountains! Upon arriving at the mountain, we were assured that there was nobody at the hut so far, so it was all ours. The weather? It was 'windy and perhaps rainy,' but supposed to be nice in the morning. So we went! 'Windy and perhaps rainy' turned into an absolutely miserable two hour trek up (which likely explained why nobody else was in the hut) with driving rain and biting winds blowing right against us at first, then seemingly trying to blow us off the cliff. In the end we made it, spent the night, and the morning made all the wet misery absolutely worthwhile! The skies were completely clear at 7AM, and climbing to a nearby ridge, we got to watch the sun rising over the mountains.

The sun rises

And the mountains stand solemnly

The way down was easy and relaxing in comparison - apparently the ugly conditions the evening before were quite the motivating factor though, as we made it down in the exact same two hours that it took us to go up - up in driving wind and rain, uphill, and with fuller backpacks. But we did stop to take a few pictures on the way down...

Aoraki, Mt. Cook: 3754m

A glacier lake in the Tasman glacier

No comments: