Another walk in the rain!

Routeburn Track Travel Blog

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In the Shelter at the start

Up early at 7.30am to finish packing and make sandwiches for today.  We parked the car and got on the bus that took us to the start of the Routeburn Track.  What was the weather like I hear you ask?  It was raining.  We set off just after ten.  The beginning of the track went over a wire suspension bridge and then took us through forest, past rivers and waterfalls, the view occasionally opening up to reveal bush covered mountains and valleys.  Even though it was raining and quite misty, we could really appreciate how spectacular the scenery is. 

Within an hour we were fairly soaked, although at this stage our boots and inner layers were still dry.  On the bus the driver had assured us that all rivers and streams were bridged, "so no drama's there then" were his words.

The official start
  After a couple of hours we came to a stream, that due to the amount of rainfall had swelled.  There was no hopping across this one.  In fact it looked quite difficult to cross because it was so fast flowing.  We saw a girl on the other side who had obviously taken off her boots and put sandles on to cross.  As our boots were still semi dry we decided to do the same.  Diane got out the flip flops and crossed first.  She was up to her knees in water, and had difficulty keeping on her feet due to the force of the water.  She threw flip flops across and then Emma took the plunge.  The water was freezing cold and just as she was getting to the other side she slipped and off went flip flop at about 90mph down stream - its escape to freedom a success!  We were in agony our feet were that cold.  Socks and boots back on, we were both just glad we had got across without falling in - that would have been chilly!

Within half an hour our boots were swimming with water anyway.  We reached the turn off for the Routeburn Falls Hut which we knew was about one and a half hours uphill so we munched on a couple of sandwiches in the rain before trudging on.  As we began to climb, the path became a muddy stream and our packs and wet boots felt very heavy (should have left the wine behind).  At this point it stopped being fun.

At about 2pm we suddenly came upon the Routeburn Falls Hut.  It was in a spectacular location, built on stilts on the side of the mountain at about 1000 metres.  Even though it was still quite misty, we stood on the veranda and looked across the valley at the mountains on the other side.  A clap of thunder signalled even heavier rain.  Just as we arrived a helicopter came through the mist carrying a load underneath  and landed just above the hut.  This is the only way supplies are able to reach here due to the remoteness of it.

For the second time in as many weeks, we found ourselves pouring water out of our boots. We quickly bagged our beds in the bunkroom and made for the large communal area which was warm due to its coal burning stove.  Had two cups of tea and began to warm up.  We got a spot quite near to the fire and chatted and read for a while.  The place began to fill up, as more and more extremely wet and cold walkers started to arrive.  We were glad that we had arrived early because the rain had swelled the streams even more, and there were tales of people really struggling to cross them and even falling in.  We made one of our freeze dried meals for tea (chicken terriaki with rice).  Later in the evening we got chatting with a lad called Greg from Brisbane and were then joined by a girl from Lancaster and a lad from Seattle.  We chatted for ages (and it was a really nice atmosphere), even after the lights went out at ten and people started to light candles.  We were the last to leave at about 11pm - we couldn't bear to leave the warmth and make our way to the cold dorm.  We both got into our sleeping bags fully clothed and felt very snug.  The forcast is for a cold night so we were prepared.

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In the Shelter at the start
In the Shelter at the start
The official start
The official start
Routeburn Track
photo by: roamingduck