Sludging in Swampland to Climbing Mountains
Trip Start Feb 09, 2010
22Trip End Jul 17, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Lake Manapouri/Borland Road
With this, we chose to do the Green Lake area. We drove (one of the most beautiful drives yet) through mountains that towered directly on either side of the dirt road we were on. We finally got to a point (the Borland Saddle Trail start) and reasoned that we should park the van and then walk to the start of our trail to avoid getting any deeper into the steep dirt road that was prone to flooding over the night. We piled out of the van only to feel the crisp cold air. We could all tell it was going to be a very cold night. We packed up our bags for the night, got our packs ready, soaked in the view for a few minutes, and set out for our trail.
We hiked first through thick, lush forest (running into a bit of mud…yet we had no idea what was to come!). Next we came to a huge open valley of tall wheat-looking grass surrounded completely by towering mountains. We walked through this open field for a good hour. The ground was extremely muddy and I think almost everyone had at least one fall into the mud. The mud would grab onto your shoes and just wouldn’t let go sometimes. At one point I remember I was tramping along pretty well, was in the middle of talking (of course), and BOOM
Soon after, we came to the true swampland. There was sponge-like mold growing over the soft ground and at any point you could just sink right through to a mud-hole. In fact, both Tim and Paul did sink all the way through at times. (See pictures.) It was so fun trying to walk quickly enough to not sink, yet slowly enough to not step right out of our shoes. The next terrain we encountered was a beech forest with wet, gray sand in parts. We walked through a forest of tall, white-barked trees before coming to another mountain. We climbed up the side of a mountain, using mainly roots as our footholds. I remember thinking, “Don’t look up. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, making sure not to slip. Don’t get tired. You’re almost there. Just don’t look up.” As we reached the top, the trail just went back down. So we went straight back down and soon back up and over the next mountain. By this point in the trip it was getting dark and the trees towering around our path made it even darker. This was when I was so thankful to have my own headlamp. We turned our lights on and kept going.
We woke before sunrise, packed our bags, ate breakfast, and set out for the tramp back. Back through the beech forest, over mountain tops, across swampland and wide grass-filled valleys, over creeks, and directly through the mud. It was easily the most diverse-terrain trail I have encountered yet!