We cooked up a little breakfast this morning, and Liz struck up a conversation with a young German lady who was an herbalist of some kind. She went on to tell us all about how modern medicine doesn’t work and that the real answer to any disease is found in the root of a dandelion or some-such. This sort of thing happens a lot to me for some reason; I choose to keep my mouth shut. Because really, what’s the point? It’s like arguing on the internet.
We drove north a short ways to the beginning of the Routeburn track. Liz and the boys had some quiet time in the campervan and did a short little walk while I went a little farther afield. I walked about 9km up to the Routeburn Falls Hut. The trail is fairly flat for the first seven km along a sapphire blue river, then ascends steeply up into the mountains. I passed a guy carrying the biggest backpack I have ever seen. He wasn’t all that big; maybe 150 pounds. He said he was carrying 100 pounds of gear, including enough food for twenty days on the trail. Pretty hard core.
Anyway, I took a little break up at the hut and then went back to the campervan. I would love to do the whole of the Routeburn track sometime before we leave NZ.
We had some lunch and then drove back through Queenstown, picked up some groceries, and were on our way. We drove past vast sheep paddocks that are the home of the sheep that supply wool for my favorite clothing, Icebreakers. I feel a certain kinship with this land and the merino sheep it feeds to make my buttery-soft wool clothing. If you ever find an Icebreaker garmet, buy it. Over the last twelve days I’ve rotated three merino wool shirts and haven’t become a bit “wiffy” as they say here.
We drove along Lake Pukaki to Mt. Cook National Park. It was overcast and a little rainy. The visitor center at Mt. Cook is really impressive though, so Elias and I didn’t mind wandering around in there while the weather cleared. We cooked a big lunch and ate in the park, preparing for our long walk ahead. We were planning on walking the ten km round trip up to Hooker Lake. The valley runs along the river with views toward Mt. Cook most of the way. The clouds cleared for a while and we were treated to spectacular landscapes. Elias was, once again, and hiking machine. He seemed to run most of the way without a bit of complaining. The lake was amazing. It is fed by a calving glacier that descends from the western aspect of Mt. Cook. There are little icebergs floating throughout the lake. This walk was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
It was nearing nightfall when we departed from the park, and we drove on toward Lake Tekapo to camp for the night. Getting near the end now.