I mentioned in my last post about The Routeburn Track that it wasn’t a loop. So it presented a dilema on how I best get back to my car. As it crosses a mountain range to drive back by road would be 250km or I could retrace my steps and do the track in reverse. There was however another option and that was to link it with a neighbouring track to get be closer to the carpark. So that’s what I did. I choose the Greenstone track and wasn’t disappointed.
So on the third day of the Routeburn I simply kept walking, beginning a further 37 kms. This became my longest consecutive solo trip at 5 days. Yay! Another milestone.
The Greenstone track is primarily a wide open valley track switching into beech forest and tussock as it follows the Greenstone River. The area is steeped in Maori history as they used the route to reach the nearby Dart Valley to collect the highly valued pearly grey-green inange variety of pounamu (greenstone). Farming began in this area in the 1880’s, 20 years after the first European settlers arrived. I met some cattle grazing and there are wild deer roaming the hills.
Not all forests are created equal and I enjoyed this one more than others. Some great waterfalls and many streams to cross coupled with paths strewn with tree roots made it a little more interesting to trek through than others. Although I will always prefer the wide open spaces in the valleys. On this track the weather alternated throughout the day and by day! So many different lights and some low cloud at times walking through the valley. There was nobody else on the track with me during the day although I had great company both nights in the huts with trampers and hunters coming in from the opposite direction. By day though I was alone in the valley, trekking along, a speck beside the mountains. Check out these valley views .
Actually my second night on the track I had the company of some very colourful deer hunters. Those boys had been around the block and had the tales to prove it. Good job I was up before them and spotted this little fella before they did or it may have been rabbit stew for dinner as the deers were proving elusive.
Other parts of the track take you closer to the river. Occasionally when the sun broke through the cloud I got a hint of its green shimmering potential, but mostly the colours were muted. Will have to do the track again on a sunny day to see the difference if only for the swing bridge. This one had me hesitate for a moment.