Thursday, 23 April 2015

Greenstone / Caples Track April 7th - 9th

We arrived at the trailhead at about 11 and headed out towards the Greenstone track. We decided to add the lake Rere loop onto our tramp, which took us through a beautiful wooded area that felt straight out of Jurassic park with large ferns and moss and added another 10 kilometers to our track bringing the total to 71 kilometers  We stopped at lake Rere for lunch (Photo 1). Here we had our first encounter with the very curious New Zealand robin (Photo 2). This little guy was fearless. He would hop up to roughly half a meter from us and when we would walk towards him would simply hop a few centimeters farther away.
We continued on through the woods and passed the path to the Greenstone hut until the trail opened up into a huge golden valley with a river running through it surrounded by rocky mountains jutting straight up. At this point a light rain began to fall so we went off trail and found a spot to set up camp. We were tucked up a hill under the tree line with a long golden hill stretching out below us, and a stunning mountain ridgeline in front of us. It was a perfect spot to call home for a night (Photo 3).
The next day we walked through ridiculous landscapes, including a forrest of dead sun bleached trees in the middle of a river (photo 4), as we followed the Greenstone track up past the next hut and towards the saddle. The change in environment felt unreal, as our surroundings would change in a moment from sprawling golden fields (Photos 5 and 6) into forests completely covered with thick bright green moss (Photo 7). Each one was just as beautiful as the previous yet stunning and new.

We stopped just before the saddle at a fairly large alpine lake and found a small, secluded section of beach off the trail to call our home for the night. Our tent was only 4 or 5 meters from the lake (Photo 8). There were giant stony mountains jutting straight up from the to our right. I made a little fire and relaxed for the remainder of the day trying to fully soak up the ridiculous beauty all around.
The next morning we were up with the sun and started our dramatic assent up the saddle. We gained roughly 600 meters in elevation and were rewarded with an incredible 360-degree view of the surrounding mountain landscape. We dropped our packs and went off trail up the ridgeline to have an unobstructed view of the surrounding peaks with the lake below (Photo 9).
After a snack we transitioned over to the Caples track and started our long descent back towards the car park. We walked for hours through dense forests before breaking out into another golden field following a new river down (Photo 10).
We passed the mid caples hut and continued along the river into open green pastureland (Photo 11). On our way we passed many adorable baby cows. We also saw a beautiful unknown brown work of nature art floating in the river (Photo 12). As we continued on I spotted two huge rainbow trout leisurely swimming up stream they were at least 18” long. Everything felt exactly as it should be.
A few kilometers from the car park we decided to tuck ourselves up under the trees for the night. We made some dinner and watched as the clouds turned pink and then disappeared as darkness took over leaving a perfectly clear night. The milky way and piercing stars watched from above, some peaking over the mammoth silhouetted of the mountain range in front of us. We slept out under the starts that night and awoke with the sun and then made the short half hour tramp back to the car park where we had a ride scheduled. We were then transported back to a small 350-person town roughly 40 kilometers from Queenstown called Glenorchy.

Photo 1 - Lake Rere

Photo 2 - New Zealand Robin

Photo 3 - View From First Camp Site

Photo 4 - Dead Forest In Middle Of River

Photo 5 - Valley Greenstone Track

Photo 6 - The Squad In the Valley Greenstone Track

Photo 7 - Mossy Creek

Photo 8 - Second Camp Site 

Photo 9 - View From Ridgeline Above Saddle (Note Justin On Hill To Right For Perspective)

Photo 10 - Caples Track

Photo 11 - Pastureland Caples Track

Photo 12 - Mysterious Nature River Sculpture

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