Saturday, January 27, 2018

Eight day tramping bootcamp

Imagine that you are required to limit your activity for a few months and then soon you are going on a 2 week trip to ski powder in Japan. And you aren't feeling particularly ski fit.

Your visual issues are being addressed through getting a contact lens so you can at last see with both eyes. Not perfect vision, but pretty good. You go for a day walk to Rob Roy Glacier in Mt Aspiring National Park. It's a glorious walk up to an alpine meadow with a huge glacier above. Spectacular!

You are impressed by how comfortable you feel with the walking and rock hopping now you can see with two eyes, but are appalled at your reduction in fitness. There are only 3 weeks to go. Time for bootcamp!!

So... you plan: An overnight trip to Brewster Hut, involving a gruelling 2.5 km walk up a very steep ridge. You climb 1000m vertical from the river crossing to the hut, mostly over beech tree roots, and then on an exposed ridge above the treelike. Perfect for getting the legs into gear! The next day you will return back down the steep ridge.

Next, a trip to the West Coast, and the less physically gruelling Stafford Bay walk. This involves following a marked route, along streams and watercourses, over a small saddle to the next valley, then following more watercourses and rivers to the Hut on Stafford Bay. It requires a lot of water crossings, and navigation skills, and gives me a chance to try out my beacon's navigational aids.

Finally, the four day Gillespie Pass circuit, involving the crossing of the Makarora River, walking up the Young River, over Gillespie Pass to Siberia Valley, a side trip to Crucible Lake in an even higher hanging valley, and back out along the Wilkin Valley by jet boat.

I'll write about each trip separately, but I can safely say the bootcamp worked. I'm ready to go skiing!!

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