eNZees Blog

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.

Tagged: blister and hot-spot prevention, hiking the routeburn track in new zealand, how to hike the routeburn track, new zealand great walks, new zealand routeburn track, routeburn falls lodge new zealand, routeburn valley new zealand, tasman sea routeburn track, Tramping the Routeburn Track

Hiking New Zealand's Routeburn Track

by Jill Schuman | April 19, 2016 | 0 Comments

New Zealand Routeburn Track, photo by Larry Gross

Photo by Larry Gross

I've written quite often about how I discovered using lambswool to prevent blisters while hiking New Zealand's Routeburn Track. But this is such an incredible Great Walk that I thought I should tell you a bit more about the trail itself! This is the first of a three-part series about New Zealand's Routeburn Track. 

The Routeburn Track traverses wild and scenic mountains. It is located between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys at the base of the NZ Southern Alps on the South Island.

Mountains on New Zealand's Routeburn Track, photo by Larry Gross

Photo by Larry Gross

New Zealand's Routeburn Track, Photo by Larry Gross

Photo by Larry Gross

The terrain is rugged, scenic, wet, dry, and rocky and some of the most spectacular views I have seen in all my travels.

We started our trek through a low altitude Silver Beach forest to Key Summit and onto Lake Howden.

The wettest section of the Track was on Day 1 where I started getting hot-spots under my two big toes. It was raining and my pack was very heavy. The the climb on this first day totaled 4284 feet. I was pulling with my 2 big toes and thought I was in trouble if this is happening just a few hours into Day 1. I didn't know how in the hell was I going to figure out a way to get rid of those pesky hot spots before they turned into blisters.

I stopped and wrapped my two toes in the wool I'd purchased earlier and literally from that moment on forgot about my issue until I arrived at the hut at Lake Mackenzie Lodge 10 miles later. I pulled off my sock and to my amazement I found the wool in place where I initially positioned it; and it was woven into my sock and more importantly the bottom of my toes were as soft as a babies’ bum. That was my “aha” moment.

Of course I celebrated my good fortune of being able to trek on with with an ice cold beer!

Tagged: blisters while hiking in New Zealand, Hiking Routeburn Track, how to prevent blisters, New Zealand Great Walks, New Zealand Routeburn Track, Tramping the Routeburn Track