• Day148

    Mountain hike and Lindis Pass

    February 10, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    This morning we got up quite early and left the campsite after making a nice cup of tea and watching some sort of bike race roll through. Not sure how serious it was as most of the competitors seemed more keen to just chat with their fellow riders as loudly as possible.

    We headed back to the musical robot toilets in town...who doesn't want to listen to a nice tune in the bathroom...and then set off for the Diamond Lake Track. We decided on this track over the Mt Iron one after reading some reviews. We got a bit lost on route and ended up on an awful gravel track, but soon corrected ourselves and eventually made it through more mountainous scenery to the car park. After taking a lot longer than probably necessary to pack our bags (more my fault than Robs) we set off uo the mountain.

    The first part of the walk was a fairly gradual but quite steep gravel track that led up to the lake. After no more than about 10 steps I was already warning Rob that all the walking over the past two days may have been a bit too much too soon as I already felt worn out. Seemed pathetic to say so but I felt exhausted. We carried in though, can't give up that quickly, and we eventually got to a path that was flat and bordered the Lake. There were some gorgeous sounding warblers in the trees darting about and you could make out the Lake through the branches. I think being flat this also gave me chance to get a bit more energy back and when the decision cane we followed the signs away from the easy lakeside loop and to the Rocky Mountain Trek that headed to the viewpoint or the summit. We soon found ourselves heading up steps (yay!) so so many steps, up and up and up. Every corner revealed yet more and I was again questioning why u was doing this. I had to stop a couple of times and we let a couple of people over take us before we got to the first viewpoint. It was an OK view of the lake below but not spectacular.
    We carried on up a slightly sloping path now that ran along the mountainside. There was tussocks and grasses blowing in the wind and it had a beautiful golden colour in the sun. Not being stairs this once again allowed me to somewhat recover, though only slightly, when we reached the next fork in the road a huge part of me did not believe I could continue uo any further. I rather fancied the short and flatter walk to the view point, but we had chosen to climb to the top and the view was looking more and more amazing the higher we got, so we continued.
    We chose the East route and began to ascend the rest of the way to the top. It turns out this half of the walk was just one long and very steep walk/clamber to the top. Lots of precariously narrow and loose mud switchbacks and plenty of steep natural steps which were massively testing my tired legs. We stopped a few times on this route, personally I felt like crying several times but Rob kept me going, as did my decision to just pretend it didn't hurt (strangely powerful mind tool). We also saw other people exactly the same so it made me feel a bit better too. The worst thing was that every steep climb to the top of that section just revealed yet another one behind it, the view that were wanted to see was just always another little climb away. We did get a stunning view from the side we were climbing though and that definitely made the climb a little easier. A beautiful view of the lake and mountains and even a white sand river that looked like it belonged in the carries with turquoise water.
    Eventually we could see the summit...a Swedish couple we kept seeing in the way up were waving for us to get up there and the view that revealed itself on the other side would have taken my breath away had I had anybto spare. This side was much more rugged mountain scenery with deep golden and brown grasses against rocky summits and ridges that still held the snow at the top. A 360 degree view of amazingness!
    We chatted a bit to the Swedish couple about the horrendous climb up and then sat and enjoyed the view and recovered a while
    Then was the walk back down. We chose the west route this time. It started lovely and gently and we thought we had been hard done by, but eventually we were clinging to branches to lower ourselves down large scree and mud slopes and steps that just seemed to drop down the side, so I think we chose the better route.
    We made it back in 3.5 hours so for a 3hr return route I think we did good! I could barely stand however without my legs quivering away!
    Time for lunch to refuel and then a drive towards Mt Cook.

    The drive took us almost 1000m as we drove over the Lindis Pass, a route through more golden and grassy mountains that seemed very very barren. It was a beautiful drive once again but not quite as dramatic as some of the rocky mountains we had left behind. The best views were towards the end when the landscape opened out into a vast plain bordered by mountains in the distance.
    We stopped in Omarama to camp for the night which is where we are now, about to sleep to recover for an early start to Mt Cook tomorrow.
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