Posted by: Matt | December 19, 2008

The Routeburn

We’ve just returned from the Routeburn Track, it is another of New Zealand’s “Great Walks.” People travel from all over the world to walk these trails and experience natural landscapes that are truly magnificent. That is, of course, if you can see these landscapes. For our part, it rained almost constantly during our three-day hike and then, like a perfect drive after a crappy round of golf, turned gorgeous at the last minute leaving us with an overall good experience.

Basically, in one statement per participant, here is how our trip commenced:

Liz (the optimist): “I think the rain is letting up.”
Matt (the realist, practicing his British): “I’m well soaked, I’m pretty sure it’s going to keep raining.”
John (the Coloradoite): “This is so ridiculous, I haven’t seen this much rain in five years!”
Ady (from the UK, having spent way too much time with three Americans, in her best “valley girl” impression): “Like oh my gosh, is it ever going to stop raining?”

John and Ady, happy and just slightly damp.

John and Ady, happy and just slightly damp.

Needless to say, we had a great and memorable time. When the clouds did attempt to push off for a moment, or a patch of sunlight burst through caught a glimpse of the magnificence of Fijordland, and hiking through it is definitely the best way to experience it. In some ways, hiking through the clouds may be the best way to experience an area like this. The walls of the mountains were so shear that you literally could not tell how high they peered above the mountains. It is possible in a scenario like this to really let your imagination run wild.

Sweet yoga poses.

Sweet yoga poses.

During the evenings, we had great dinners surrounding our little camping stove. For dessert we pulled out rounds of hot chocolates and Twix bars. Afterward we would retire to our sopping wet tents and attempt to get a bit of sleep. All things said and done, I think we’re all ready for our next great hiking adventure. Maybe next time we’ll stay in the huts.

I leave you today with an analogy that recently presented itself to us. A man was to dine with a group of friends and family, and mistakenly believed that the restaurant was at the top of a steep hill that had to be walked up. After climbing the hill, he came to realize that the group had only made the walk to take in the views before returning to the bottom for dinner. However, the view and the sunset were amazing and he was glad he had made the trip.

The good stuff on the last morning.

The good stuff on the last morning.

So, keep believing in the restaurant. Even if what we expect isn’t at the top of the hill, hopefully the trip will have been worth it. That’s the way the Routeburn was this week. We weren’t expecting what we got, but it was still worth the trip.

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