Copland Track

We recently got back from the West Coast where we completed the Copland Track to the Welcome Flat Hut. It was soggy and challenging, but most importantly, I won the award for most falls!

CIMG9723After Sarah and Brett took us on Routeburn for Christmas, this was our gift to them.

Copland Track is tricky to book because it is so weather-dependent. If there is a lot of rain or bad weather, the track closes. At first, I thought this was silly. But then, after we arrived on our beautiful, sunny first day, we walked about 40m before running into a river. Well, Rough Creek to be exact. It had been raining a bit the days leading up to it, but I can imagine that if it had been any worse, we would have had a lot more trouble crossing – Brett got a great picture of our attempt here.

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There were endless streams and creeks to cross (or simple climb up) along the 18km/7 hour trip out, with boulder hopping and mud stomping to go with it. Needless to say, my non-water resistant tennis shoes were not up to the challenge (my green-socked pinky toe was poking out of my shoe by the end of the return). With a couple active landslide areas, the terrain is constantly changing and difficult to traverse. There were a couple points I wasn’t entirely convinced we were on the trail, but fortunately they have plenty of markers. While it was mostly tough and unwieldy, there was also evidence of work the DOC has done to improve and further define this trail – areas people have been through with machetes and weedwackers, stepping stones, and small rock paths added through muddy sections.

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We walked alongside the Copland River for much of it, crossing several one person max bridges. Eventually we reached the Welcome Flat Hut after 7-8 grueling hours (this was the first hike that took us longer than the estimated time!). There, we had booked the Sierra Room – a sole occupancy room rather than the 20+-bunks – which appeared to be old staff quarters. It was only slightly pricier, but there we had access to all cooking supplies, a shower, a stove to heat the room, and access to lights as late as we wanted (woo! Party!).

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But more importantly, when we arrived at the Welcome Flat Hut, we got to visit the natural hot pools. It was quite a welcome soak for our exhausted muscles, with an awesome view of the Sierra Range. The next morning, we made our way back down the trail, across Rough Creek, and back to the car. We were knackered, but luckily the fun didn’t stop there. Stay tuned for details about the rest of our visit to Glacier Country!

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Scroll through the gallery to see more pictures from Copland Track!

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