From "New Zealand Adventures, Part II: South-Island Hiking Trip"
The following day was a short one, as we adjusted to the multi-day routine of getting used to unpacking and re-packing all our needed supplies (including packing up the tent in the rain).
Beautiful Silver Beech ForestsMuch of our total hike ended up winding through the lower valleys, blanketed with beautiful rain forests, reminiscent of our Washington woods: with verdant moss climbing up trunks and hanging off branches, and thick fern-carpeted undergrowth. Instead of 100+ft-tall evergreens, though, the woods here were made of shorter silver beech trees (“Tawhai”, native to New Zealand) – with beautiful winding branches, and small shimmering golden-brown fallen leaves carpeting the trail. Though usually we would have preferred to spend more time in alpine areas, the forest here had a beautiful sense of tranquility. (Also, as I was listening to the perfect audiobook to accompany a New Zealand trek – the Lord of the Rings – I could imagine the silver beeches embodying a bit of the magic of the woods of Lothlorien, providing rest, hope, and peaceful serenity to weary travelers.)
|A branch of the beautiful silver beech "Tawhai" leaning over the river.|
|The Tawhai rainforest greatly reminded us of our mossy Washington Cascade forests.|
Young HutDespite getting a late start, we decided to stop early in the day, as we were entranced by the beautiful hut that greeted us another four miles up the Young River Valley from where we had camped. The hut was large and clean, built recently in 2006 with a huge deck where we could dry out our tent, two separate indoor sleeping rooms, and a well-stocked indoor fireplace that could help dry out wet boots and clothing. There were beautiful views of the steep mountain slopes across the valley, and the greatly appreciated convenience of having no sandflies inside.
Here are links to the other days:
- Intro: Preparing for the Hike
- Day 1: Blue Pools to Young River Campsite
- Day 2: Young River Campsite to Young River Hut
- Day 3: Young River Hut over Gillespie Pass to Siberia Hut
- Day 4: Day hike from Siberia Hut to Crucible Lake, then Siberia Hut to Kerin Forks Hut (and fording Wilkin River)
- Day 5: Kerin Forks Hut to Top Forks Hut
- Day 6: Day hike from Top Forks Hut to Lakes Diana, Lucidus, and Castalia
- Day 7: Hike Conclusions and Helicopter Ride from Top Forks Hut to Makarora