Trip to Trig M
I'm back from a wonderful day hike in the Korowai Tussocklands. My day walks in the mountains are such good value - I re-live each small journey for days afterwards. The big views obviously inspire big thoughts, but the simplicity of walking in the outdoors, just to get somewhere else, is the key. The sense of time versus distance is so delightfully different...
I'm always amazed how much distance my feet can cover. For example, in just half an hour I've climbed up this hill, down this slope, and onto this saddle. The road-end is way back 'there', almost out of sight. Just me, water bottle and lunch in my day pack, striding out (I love my boots) and swinging my trekking poles. 'Andante', the magical tempo of hill walking.
Track up to Trig M
Starting near Porter's Pass
Today's trail led over the tops from Porter's Pass, with panoramic views of other, higher dry mountain ranges - the Craigeburns, Foggy Peak, the Big Ben Range. On one side of the spur a sheltered gully of mountain beech, on the other side rough semi-scree slopes reaching down to Lake Lyndon. The main road to the West Coast wriggled along the valley bottom, as inconsequential as a length of abandoned ribbon.
The trail led easily along the tops to Trig M (1251m), the lunch spot and today's destination. Visibiity was good, and so we could have continued on for another hour to Rabbit Hill - but there's no track, and no marker poles. Another day, maybe, armed with an extra water bottle and the GPS.
The tussocklands are very compact - a blobby little rise leads quickly to a scoopy saddle, then on to another little hill, and so on. The path ahead to Trig M ( clearly this humble hill-top is not deemed worthy of a proper name) is always visible, through scruffy rocks and low, rugged alpine vegetation (mainly snow tussock).
Nearer the road-end I passed a patch of Echiums covered in bumble bees - the variety Bombus subterraneous, which live in the alpine areas. A very exciting moment, since only four types of bumble bee live in New Zealand, and these are the rarest.
Lots of reasons for liking this trip...
I keep finding reasons why I loved this particular trip. It wasn't too long - a return journey of just 6.6 kilometres. The weather was benign and stable - no cloud, little wind, the calmness of autumn. I had brilliant company - my oldest, well-tried and totally-trusted tramping friend. Being with someone who smiles and listens (well, half-listens) to me rambling on, and then offers me a piece of her fruit cake for lunch - I couldn't ask for more!
There was enough daylight to be able to set a safe pace, and have time to stop, look, and give thanks. For feet, hiking boots (I love my boots), legs, well-behaved knees, shorts, good socks, amazing views, great weather, food and company... But we've been over all that!
These gushing ramblings are not intended as trip notes. They are allowed to sound a bit 'girlie' - or perhaps 'old-womany'? Please check with DOC if you need proper information. And respect the weather. In winter the tops will be snow-covered, in wind you'll probably be blown over, and in low cloud or fog you won't see anything. So you wouldn't even be up there. Seems pretty obvious.