Yea!! We actually took a hike today. I have been wanting to do a hike ever since we left Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. We hiked a portion of the Whole Kepler Track which is a circular hike that goes for about 60 km with the highest elevation gain being about 1250 meters. Most backpackers do it in 3 or 4 days.
We started at Rainbow Reach crossing the swing bridge …
… and took photos of the Wainu River from the bridge.
Jan and I mostly walked separately. I loved just listening to the birds and experiencing the forest on my own. There were a couple of places where I could see the river through the trees.
We walked 6 km to Moturau Hut through tall, mossy, fern covered rain forest on a gently undulating trail and wandered through mountain beech forest. Of course we have our own rain forests in Oregon,
The bird songs were almost constant. What a pleasure it was to walk slowly through the forest.
I loved all of the ferns. They just covered the forest floor. New fronds were sprouting everywhere.
I could look down on the Waiai River from the track.
How about this hole under the tree root? Pretty cool.
Most of the track was pretty flat. We ran into Maaike at the wet land viewing platform. It was fun to see her again.
We arrived at Motarau Hut after about 90 minutes. The hut was above Lake Manapouri. There was a note on the hut that said snow may be falling in the mountain at 900 meters. You can tell by looking at the mountain in the following two photos which were taken within minutes just how fast the weather moved in and out.
The huts are very adequate and has about 40 bunks.
After eating the lunches we packed, we heading back down. I have no idea what causes these holes, but I had to photograph one of them
I finally got a photo of one of the birds. Maaike told me that it is a Bush Robin and it is very territorial. See the worm in its beak. It is s much smaller bird than it appears in this photo which I cropped.
Here is Maaike on the trail as we were going back to the cars.
The Waiatu River was beautiful
You can see the mountains past the river.
After we walked back to Rainbow Reach, we wanted to hike the 9 mile trek back to the Control Gate at the beginning of the whole track, but we didn’t want to have to do the return on this portion. Jan had a great idea. She drove the car to Control Gate at the beginning of the Kepler Track as I walked towards it. She was going to hike from the other side and meet me half-way to give me the car keys. Then I could get the car and go back to meet her.
I tried to get a photo of this very little Fan Tailed bird, but it was too fast. See if you can see the tail opened in this photo.
I passed many of these boxes and wondered what they were.
Then I passed this sign.
Possums are a real problem in New Zealand.
I love the way the moss covers everything.
The creek runs under the log.
I was getting pretty tired. I kept thinking that even though I was a slow hiker, I must have gone 1/2 way. But there was no site of Jan. Finally I saw her coming. It turns out that she had walked about 1/2 hour in the wrong direction after she parked the car. By this time I had been walking for 2 hours. Jan told me that she left arrows in the road so I could find my way to the car park.
It took me 3 hours to walk the 9.5 km. I was pretty tired after this 21.5 km day. I found the car, went to my room to pick up my book and headed back to get Jan.
It was a fantastic day.