Sunday, November 15, 2015

NZ travelogue: Going up St. Arnauds Range

Yesterday I finally crossed Cook Strait on the Ferry.

Waiting for departure

In the middle of the Strait - a very calm and easy crossing!

Approaching Picton, looking back onto the Sound we have come through.

Then I picked up the rental car, took the scenic Queen Charlotte Drive which I had last gone the other direction on my bike seventeen years ago. At that point I thought it is so much nicer to go by bike, you can stop anywhere you want, whereas with a car you have to really watch out for suitable stopping places. But after leaving that road I was kind of happy that I could the the 90 km straight road towards St. Arnauds in Nelson Lakes National Park in just over an hour instead of having to commit a whole day on the bike in order to cover that distance!

This morning I then set off to go up to St. Arnauds Range.

Rotoiti Lake looked promising in the morning.

But getting up to the Range from the level of the Lake was indeed hard work. Had to keep myself distracted by taking lots of pictures of little details along the way.

And still the last thrid of the stretch before you get out above the tree line was not a whole lot of fun at all! The view from Phantoms Rock was magnificent, though. However, at that stage I thought I'd had enough, especially since clouds were going up the hill.

So I thought I might just rest a little and then go back down. However, by the time I'd finished my apple and a few handfuls of trail mix the clouds had disappeared and I managed to motivate myself to keep going. More details along the way.

And then another point of  'come on, just turn around', when Phantom's Rock was already far down, and the top of the Range, which had not seemed that far away from the Rock did not seem to have come any closer at all:

Phantom's Rock far below...

... and the range still far up there!
But I kept going. And it was well worth it.

Going down was slightly easier, and I found more interesting details along the way.

And when I was back down the mountains looked like this:

So I had been really lucky with the weather. Now I have sore feet, not sure I will be able to go the track I wanted to go tomorrow...

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