The Routeburn Track – Day 2

After packing up all our stuff we hit the trail at 11:15. It was a little colder than the day before so our packs were a little lighter since we were wearing more clothes instead of carrying them.¹


One of the things that I really liked is how the surroundings and the terrain went through different phases throughout the hike. We’d go from walking through the flatlands to climbing mountains to Beechwood forests to moss-covered forests. It kept things interesting and made carrying a 40-pound pack more enjoyable.


The moss covered forests look like something out of Narnia. Miriam thinks they look like a forest from Alice in Wonderland. I constantly had the feeling that the trees were going to come alive.


P1030780Day 2 was all uphill for the first 2/3 of the day. At this point we were climbing to Harris Saddle and Conical Hill. If you look hard you can see our bunks next to the lake.

P1030791Miriam and Sarah tramping down the path. Once we got up this high it got cold and windy. We didn’t see a tree for 5 hours.²

P1030793Miriam didn’t want a pink pack but in the words of the salesman where she bought it when it comes to women’s hiking gear “they shrink it and pink it.”

P1030798This is the top of Conical Hill. On a clear day you should be able to see all the way to the Tasman Sea. This was not a clear day. Still on top of Conical Hill here. This was the highest point on the track (4,970 ft). I don’t get why it is called a Hill. A hill is something you go sledding down and don’t die. 4900 feet is a mountain.


P1030802This is the view of Harris Saddle heading down from Conical Hill. There were some shelters there that had toilets and offered a place to get relief from the cold.³

P1030805I really liked alpine lakes like this one that we passed on our walk. I didn’t like them enough to swim in them though.

P1030808Our trail followed the river that you can see in this picture. This valley definitely looked like something I had seen in Lord of the Rings.

P1030809Miriam and Sarah posing on the trail next to some rocks we walked through. Don’t let the picture fool you, they were bickering and fighting THE WHOLE TIME.†

P1030812SARAH! Quit pulling your sister’s hair! MIRIAM! Don’t tattle. Nobody likes a tattle-tale. Oh great now Miriam’s crying. Brett can you stand between them?

P1030813This is Routeburn Falls where our bunks for night 2 were located. This was at roughly 3200 feet.

We got to our hut at 6:30, grabbed a table and proceeded to finish our wine, cheese and salami. After our delicious freeze-dried meals we played played rummy until they turned the lights out on us. It started pouring a few hours after we got to the hut and continued throughout the night.‡

Day 3 was a wet one! Come back tomorrow to read about it.



1 – Easy for Gordon to say… Meanwhile I was still carrying all of the heavy fruit and foods for night two and three..

2 – This was a little disappointing for me, because the previous day Gordon and I had the idea to run ahead of Scott, then jump out and scare him. Hard to do when there’s nothing to hide behind… Jeez nature.

3 – Again with the guided tours tease. There was the regular shelter, but then next door there was the “guided tours” shelter – locked – with fresh water, juice and coffee!

† – Sometimes sarcasm doesn’t translate well online. So just to clarify, we actually managed to all keep level heads and not get frustrated with each other. Two times this fell through. One was when Gordon started to get crungry (ok ok, we were all a little crungry). The second was in a heated game of rummy.

Also, is it just me, or does it look like I’m riding in Brett’s pack in that picture?

‡ – At one point, I woke up and it seriously sounded like we were in a washing machine! Some seriously powerful rain.


Before we started on our way, we did a short little side hike to this split rock. It was a great pack-free warm up, and awarded this adorable photo opp.


Lake Mackenzie was awesome when you were standing next to it – clear, gorgeous waters. But from above, it was even more spectacular! CIMG9664



Being on top of Conical Hill felt like being on top of the world.  It was well worth the tricky climb up, even though we didn’t have a very clear day.



Yes, the stereotypical “capture your friend looking off into nature” pic, but BrettyBoy just looks so hardcore here.



Day two didn’t have as clear, sunny weather, but it was a really unique part of the trek. It had awesome views and unique terrain, and it was the day I felt most accomplished at the finish.

This was also my favorite night. Since the next day we only had a couple hours, we didn’t hold back on finishing our grub, and we got to the hut with plenty of time to mingle with the other hikers. Our hut ranger here was particularly informative and entertaining. He told us all about the Kea – birds that during the day, are loud and goofy, but at night, will turn silent and destroy any campers’ gear left out on the porches.


2 thoughts on “The Routeburn Track – Day 2

  1. Pictures are just great….before I read your caption …I thought Narnia too. I had forgotten that Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand. Safe travel to you and Miriam.

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