Routeburn Track Travel Blog› entry 65 of 254 › view all entries
Neither of us could get to sleep even though we were warm in our bags. At one point during the night there was a brilliant flash and a crash of thunder that seemed to roll around the mountains for ages. At about 3am Emma gave up trying to sleep and went to the loo. It was still pouring with rain and felt quite warm. Got to sleep at about 4am but were woken at 7am with people getting up and loud exclamations as they stepped outside. Emma went to investigate and couldn't believe her eyes. It was as if we had suddenly been transported to Greenland. It had snowed about a foot in the space of 2-3 hours and the nearby trees were thick with snow. It was still snowing and was very misty. Todays walk was to take us above the trees and was mostly sub alpine, so this new development was a little worrying, we decided to wait and see what the forcast was and what the warden advised.
After we had breakfast (3 weetabix each!) the warden announced that the track over to the next hut, Mackenzie Hut, was shut for at least the next 24 hours due to the snow and risk of avalanches. This meant that we all had to walk back the way we had come and there would be transport to collect us. After packing up and putting on every item of clothing we set off back down the track. It was absolutely magical, walking through a winter wonderland.
We got back down to the car park, caught the bus back to Glenorchy and then drove to Queenstown to get our refunds from the Department of Conservation office. We had booked the huts for this walk six months ago, so we were both very disappointed that we hadn't been able to carry on. On the plus side it had been quite an adventure being so far up in the mountains and seeing the snow - 'grand' as Diane would say!
We decided to move on and drove to Wanaka - a small town on the edge of Lake Wanaka - very picturesque. Booked into a cheap motel so that we could sort and dry all our stuff, then went for a beer and a curry as a reward for our hard work!