Posts filed under 'Rees-Dart'
So I am back in Queenstown and living it up again in my Kiwi friend Sharlene’s house. The weather is still quite cool and overcast and it’s a great feeling to be inside and warm and dry. The dirty smelly hiking clothes have been washed this morning and are currently on the line outside drying so in just a short time I will have clean clothes again!
Yesterday I hiked out of the Dart Track – it was 18 km out from Daley’s Flat to the first parking lot at Chinaman Flats. The trail going out was really pretty with great views of the Dart Valley and I was completely enjoying the scenery. Once I got down to the Dart River though it was a bit of a bummer because there were Dart River Safari jet boats running ‘punters’ up and down the river and here I was walking the track alongside the river and being bombarded by the sounds of jet boats every 30 minutes. Not exactly what I would consider a wilderness experience in the midst of a National Park, but it’s very typical of New Zealand to allow any boat, helicopter, or plane anywhere just to make a buck. It’s a shame really.
I got to the first parking lot where there were a few cars, and I had a quick snack and a break before starting the 6 km walk down the 4WD track to the next parking lot at Paradise. As luck would have it I only walked for about 10 minutes before a car came by and they actually stopped and gave me a 20 km lift all the way out to the main road and to the DOC office in Glenorchy! I was so happy that I did not have to walk especially because it was just started to rain lightly and I didn’t fancy walking in the rain all afternoon. The couple who gave me a lift was 2 Germans who just recently moved to New Zealand. They let me off at the DOC office where I dropped off my intentions form to tell them I made it out alive and safe, and I then went down to the road to hitch the 44 km back to Queenstown.
Didn’t take too long to get a lift, about 10 minutes or so, and I got a ride all the way to downtown Queenstown with 2 really nice English guys. Once in town I went and had a big Tip-Top ice cream cone, then checked my email, and then bought some food before taking the bus up to Sharlene’s place. Sharlene is actually away at the moment, hiking the Hump Ridge Track with friends, but she told me I could stay here with her roommates, a Danish couple, if I got back to Queenstown early. My next mission will be to drive her friend Sally’s car down to Riverton, about a 4-hour drive from Queenstown, to pick them up on Wednesday. It should be interesting, my first time driving in nearly 18 months and on the left side no less. I will have to have a few coffees before I leave on that trip. For the next day though I think I’ll stay in Queenstown to rest up a bit and relax.
Signs of glacial activity in Dart Valley
I’m told this river was in Lord of the Rings Two Towers
January 27th, 2003
Long Day. 11 hours of hiking (22 km or 15 miles) from Shelter Rock Hut. Did 2 days of walking in one. It was COLD this morning at Shelter Rock, so cold that the water taps had ice in them. Started walking in hat and gloves and jacket until the sun came out over the mountains and into the valley to warm things up. Walked from Shelter Rock up to Rees Saddle at 1447 m where I had 360-degree views of snow-capped granite peaks. It was awesome.
From there I followed the Dart Valley down to Dart Hut where I stopped for a break before continuing on to here. The trail from Dart Hut to here was in much better shape than the Rees Track so the walking was easier. But the last hour is always tough on a long day. Made it here at 6:30pm. Only 3 people here in this hut tonight – Roger (from Shelter Rock) and an Italian guy. That makes me very happy. I think of all the walks I’ve done in NZ so far this is my favorite. Just outstanding scenery, and hardly anyone on the trail. Oh yeah, and I saw my first keas today in Rees Valley – they are an alpine parrot native to New Zealand and are really colorful and beautiful. An added bonus to a great day.
Tomorrow I’ll head out of Dart Valley and hope to catch a ride back to Queenstown.
Over the Rees Saddle and down the Dart Valley
Cool hiker chick
Dart Valley at the end of a long day
January 25th, 2003
Only 3 people here tonight in this beautiful spacious 20-person hut with the most amazing views of the Rees Valley. I am glad I chose to stay here where I’ll be warm and dry inside rather than tenting at Dart Hut. It was only about 11 km to get here today and that took me just 4 hours so I think I was walking fairly slow and feeling sluggish. Not a hard decision to make to stay here when I saw how nice the hut was. Also here is Roger from Belfast and Christian form Sydney, two really nice guys who I’ve spent the afternoon and evening talking with.
It rained a bit this afternoon but I was nice and dry in the hut for that. Tomorrow I will head up the Rees Saddle and over to the Dart Valley and then decide if I want to continue on to the next hut or tent at the Dart campsite. Weather is supposed to be ok and I’m hoping for a good day. It’s 9pm, hiker midnight, must go to bed now?
Early morning in Rees Valley
Crossing some glacial snow on the trail
January 24th, 2003
Oh the sandflies, how small and yet so evil. I am their only source of nourishment at this little hut tonight, and they are feasting on me as if I am the Last Supper. DIE all of you!
It was a long day today and I’m tired even though I only did 6 km and 1.5 hours of hiking. I hitch-hiked down to the trailhead from Wanaka in 6 rides, which included one ride where I drove around looking at houses with a guy from Arthur’s Pass and another where I was invited in for a cup of tea with a family from the North Island who are down here on holiday.
In between rides I stopped in Queenstown to have coffee and check email and at one point while waiting on the side of the road I was chatting up a few Kiwi construction guys. Can’t believe I made it all the way actually. It was supposed to rain today and we have had a few showers but somehow it’s held off since I started walking the track.
This hut is small, with only 4 bunks, and is a complete trash pit so I’ve chosen to set up my tent. I’m the only one here, except for the 400 sandflies currently swarming me.
Tomorrow onward and up the Rees Valley.
Hiking out of Matukituki Valley
Rees Valley on a rainy evening in NZ
The recenty upgraded Twenty Five Mile Hut
January 23rd, 2003