eNZees Blog

Hiking New Zealand's Routeburn Track - Part 3

by Jill Schuman | May 05, 2016 | 0 Comments

The following is Part 3 of three-part blog series about the Routeburn Track in New Zealand. Click here to read the first.

Hiking New Zealand's Routeburn Track near Queenstown on the South Island

After taking in one final look at the dramatic landscape around the Routeburn Falls, we started our last day's trek through a mixed beech forest to the alpine pastures. It was there that we heard the endless songs and calls of the local song bird, the Kaka.

This was our last day so we took it slow as to take in all the sights and sounds possible. We hiked along the Routeburn River and witnessed some large avalanche slides - the most in our entire 3-week trip. 

The Routeburn River was flowing heavily and we stopped to watch a group of very adventuresome folks Canyoning* down the river, all geared up with super heavy helmets, guide lines. It looked down right unnerving to me!

(*Canyoneering, called canyoning in other parts of the world, is the adventurous act of traveling through steep and narrow canyons using a variety of techniques that can include walking, climbing, scrambling, jumping, repelling, wading, or swimming. Canyoneers usually differentiate between technical and nontechnical canyoneering. Where nontechnical canyoneering generally refers to simple canyon hiking, technical canyoneering requires specialized equipment and techniques to complete the climb safely.)

After watching the group for a bit, I found myself grateful for not agreeing to try this a week prior when we had an opportunity to participate.

routeburn track new zealand

We concluded our amazing and life altering trek at the end of Day 3. It was truly a life changing experience and one that provided me with such enthusiasm to explore, observe and appreciate the glorious world we live in and how one never knows what is around the corner both literally and metaphorically.

 

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Hiking New Zealand's Routeburn Track - Part 2

by Jill Schuman | April 27, 2016 | 0 Comments

Hiking Tramping the Routeburn Track New Zealand, photo by Larry Gross

Photo by Larry Gross

The following is Part 2 of three-part blog series about the Routeburn Track in New Zealand. Click here to read the first.

Day 2 We began our day with a climb out of Lake MacKenzie (my big toes wrapped in wool as a prevention against future blisters) and a walk across the Holyford Face to the Harris Saddle with a descend to the Routeburn Falls. It was a spectacular descent and the wild flowers were amazing. Wherever you looked the slopes were alive with color. It was the first time I saw the Eidelweiss flower in their natural habitat.

The climb up to Ocean Peak Corner was a zig-zagging trail and at times we had a 360 degree view. At last, we were rewarded with a spectacular view of the Tasman Sea. This was certainly the most exposed section of the hike. I was so excited to see the Tasman Sea for the first time. It was a glorious day with a view that took my breath away.

I will never forget the ascent up - looking across and seeing this amazing body of water that I had only read about.

After tearing myself away from the view out to the sea, we started back on the trail and took in the myriad of New Zealand flora: daisies, Mt Cook Lily and other native flowers.

Hiking and tramping the Routeburn Track in New Zealand, photo by Larry Gross

Photo by Larry Gross

Bridge on the Routeburn Track in New Zealand, photo by Larry Gross

Photo by Larry Gross

We continued our ascent up the Harris Saddle to find a lunch spot and I remember distinctly thinking this is the best lunch spot ever. The memory is so clear even now. I would have loved to hang out there for a few days and just take in the different topography, mountains, river, sea, dense vegetation, barren land; a little of everything was evident from that vantage point.

From the Harris Saddle, the track winds around Lake Harris and then descends down into the upper Routeburn Valley. We arrived at days end to the Routeburn Falls Lodge which is spectacularly located for a night's stay. It is where the river exits the alpine basin and drops to the grassy flats.

That evening, after much discussion about my avoided “near blister “ event, and over a few beers, it was decided along with our NZ hiking buddies that if no one was selling wool for blister prevention in the US I would start a business.

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