Friday 22 March 2013

The Hump Ridge Track

That's the Hump Ridge Track, then, all done and dusted. We had fabulous weather, which was really lucky, and a friendly, sociable group and brilliant guides too - but the true star was the track, all 46km of it.

Trees both towering and stumpy, ferns both tall and tiny, mosses soft and spiky. Every imaginable shade of green. Curious robins and fantails, squawking kaka, rustling wood pigeons, tuneful bellbirds, creaking tui. Alpine uplands, bare and weather-beaten, soft sheltered woodlands, architectural rocks, golden beach. Lung-bursting scrambling up the Grunt, knee-jarring descents down the steps, striding out along the tram track section and the beach. Views both long and wide, and hemmed in by trees and rocks.

So much good food, especially the hot manuka-smoked Stewart Island salmon at Port Craig lodge. Lots of jokes and laughter, some blisters, one crook knee and universal stiff muscles. Not one of us got to the end of the track without regret. And each of us was proud of a challenge met.

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