Our grand finale to NZ’s epic mountain scenery on the run certainly did not fail to knock our socks off. After a rather hilly cycle along Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown to Glenorchy and pitching our tent in the fantastical realm of “Isengard”, we hit up the first half of the classic Routeburn Track.
Our initial dream was to run both the Kepler and the Routeburn-Greenstone circuits. Although we feel pretty well recovered from Friday’s 40+ mile Kepler affair, probably not well enough to tackle the ultra-distance again 3 days later… Sooooo…. in an effort to avoid the expensive logistics of coordinating a 4-hour return shuttle from the end of the 32km Routeburn Track, we just ran the section from the Routeburn Shelter to the Harris Saddle (and Conical Hill) and back. About 26km all in all. Good enough to quench our running thirst without leaving us too broken to cycle back to Queenstown tomorrow.
It was a gloriously hot day with the only down side being that sometime between the post-Kepler laundry and now I’ve lost my favorite Patagonia running skirt :-( so I had to sweat through the run in my Icebreaker tights.
And for the rest of the story, I’ll turn it over to the photos!
Beyond the Routeburn Falls Hut the trail gets rockier but the views of the flats below and the mountains above become grander with each step:
A quick stop for some deliciously fresh water:
The source of the expansive Routeburn Falls and the Route Burn itself finally reveals itself: Lake Harris.
Above the Harris Saddle lies Conical Hill and the first glimpse over into the cloud covered Fiordlands.
Aotearoa: land of the long white cloud, indeed!!
Endless stunning views of Mount Aspiring National Park, yet another of NZ’s precious World Heritage Sites.