Twig Adventures

Postscript 4: Ball Pass, Aoraki/Mt. Cook…the Grandest of Finales

This long and picture-dense post details the 4-day zenith of my hiking adventures in New Zealand. My final route was a 26.8 km circuit over 2121 meter Ball Pass (actually, I climbed all the way up to 2222m/7290′ atop Kaitiaki Peak, my highpoint in NZ:). The weather was stunningly perfect for 3 full days and I got to soak up a lifetime of views of 3724m/12,218′ Mt. Cook, hereafter referred to as Aoraki, its more appropriate Maori name meaning ‘Cloud Piercer’ (because let’s face it, Cook was really just a pompous passerby). What a way to go out with a bang, leaving me to muse: Te Araroa what? Only kidding, this was just the icing on the cake. A grand[…]

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Postscript 3: Caples and Greenstone Tracks

March 26th, Glenorchy to McKellar Hut, 31 km walked March 27th, McKellar Hut to trailhead via Greenstone Track, then hitch back to Queenstown, 30 km walked. I stewed over my hiking options overnight and by the morning, had a completely different plan. Hearing the rain and wind on my tent all night definitely helped change my mind. Forget the Rees Valley and Cascade Saddle…it would probably be too windy and rainy for such an exposed hike. I would instead try to get a ride out to the Caples/Greenstone tracks and walk the 61 km loop over the next 2 days. These are not Great Walks, so the huts were covered by my Backcountry Hut Pass. And I really wanted to[…]

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Postscript 2: Routeburn Great Walk

March 24th, Kepler Track to Rainbow Flats 10 kms walked, hitch to Te Anau for resupply, hitch to the Divide, and onto the Routeburn for about 10 kms walked. March 25th,  finish Routeburn track to trailhead, then hitch to Glenorchy, 22.1 walked This post covers 2 days, so be forewarned, it’s a bit long! My first day back on the trails reinvigorated me so much, I was ready for more. I wonder if others yearn for more walking after just completing a long thru-hike? Well, this is New Zealand and I had to get as much out of it as time would allow. My plan was to jump from the last 10 kms on the Kepler Track right onto the[…]

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