Since I have got here I have only being doing day hikes so it was time to step it up a notch and take myself away for the night. In the past I have gone to national parks for many days at a time but I always came back to my tent each night. This time everything I would need would be on my back. Somewhat different to carrying a few litres of water and some snacks.
A super thing about hiking in New Zealand is the system of over 400 huts that are built through the country, so a tent was something I gladly struck off my list and off I went with my backpack to Mt Aspiring National Park, just outside of Wanaka. The plan was to go for one night but I was enjoying myself so much I stayed for two. After three days hiking I have sore legs as I type.
The first day I spent in search of glaciers before stopping in Mt Aspiring Hut for the night. Roy Roy Glacier is one of 100 glaciers in the park. According to the park’s information “Rob Roy Glacier once filled the valley at the peak of glaciation about 20,000 years ago…….It is now an ice age remount, having retreated to a bench about the sheer valley sides.” The track winds through the valley floor mainly thought woodland ending at the foot of the glacier. It was close to noon when I was there and shooting directly into the sun overhead so hard to capture but hope these give you a flavour.
Then it was time to make my way to Mt Aspiring Hut for the night. I wasn’t sure what to expect. This hut is actually one of the larger ones sleeping 38 bunks and a fire! So it was a delight to see smoke coming from the chimney on approach knowing it would be cosy inside. Although even better was putting on my boots the following morning, which were nice and toasty after drying by the fire for the night! The trail there was not enclosed like the track earlier in the day, instead it meanders beside the river through the valley floor across grassy flats with some docile sheep and cows for company. Plenty of small creeks to cross to keep me alert and my boots clean.
While the hut was cosy, it was school holidays so there was a family staying there with 6 children! To top it off one of the parents was a school teacher, not remarkable itself, except he was the type that was no longer able to distinguish between his classroom of 9 year olds and social situation, ” now what a girl like you should do……….. nice safe walks………..” Part of me was curious just who he thought I was, as he hadn’t asked me a single question, but if I enquired I would only be bringing undue misery on myself, so I went outside and tried to remember what I learned about the stars in Lake Tekapo and when I went back he was in bed – perfect!