Routeburn Trek, New Zealand - Hiking From Lake MacKenzie to Routeburn Falls
We slept fine and got up by 7:00 am the next day, departing the hut by 8:15 as the sun was just coming over the tips of the mountains. Shortly into our hike we reached an aqua green lake. Again early in our hike we wanted to hang out longer, but we pressed forward. We had a steep climb even with the many switch backs. We were flanked on our left by the mountains. It was too bad most of the snow had melted. Still there were an amazing number of wild flowers. As people started coming from the other direction we thought we were close to the saddle. We were wrong and it took us more than half an hour to reach the peak. It was cold and very windy, but there was a solid shelter to take the edge off. Sadly, most of the hikers didn’t have much trek etiquette, simply dropping their packs on the benches meant for tired hikers to sit. Then they left to explore the peak without care for how it might impact those that came after them.
We decided to skip the extra climb, figuring it would be too cold for a wedding dress photograph and hoped to get to the huts with good light for another photo opportunity. Going down was surprisingly difficult with large, loose ankle twisting rocks scattered everywhere. This was definitely much more rugged than the Milford Trek. Our efforts were rewarded as we descended with views of a layered tapestry of Fiordland mountains with a lake at its base. Extending down into the valley was a relatively slow snaked river.
As we approached the hut there we saw Routeburn Falls. If hiked backward and saw them before Earland Falls they would have been impressive, but we were a little disappointed and feared we might not get a wedding dress shot after all.
That was of course changed as we turned and saw the valley spread out to our right. With great light shining down upon us and took a series of wedding dress shots before enjoying the afternoon sitting under a warm sun on the edge of a precipice looking out into the valley below.
If you want to see the entire collection of One Dress, One Woman, One World photographs, check out our other website, www.onedressonewoman.com.
Our relaxing perch was distrupted by an internally-combustive invader. However, after trudging through the horrific weather of Milford we were glad the huts were equipped with landing pads.
In the evening we were treated to more tales of peril. The DOC staffer recounted why it was important to wear your headlamp when going to the toilet. Apparently people aren’t the only creatures that choose to do their business there. One night a woman met a possum in the tight quarters just as she finished her business. The woman shrieked a death song that woke the camp and completely freaked the possum out as well. I was quite glad that my head lamps was fully charged.
As we settled in for the night, we kept peering at the white board. It was the hut’s equivalent of a TV. We watched like expectant mothers, hoping for good weather updates.
The story continues...