Aoraki/Mt. Cook

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Where I stayed
White Horse Hill Campsite
Lindis Pass Historic Hotel, Nine Mile Historic Reserve

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Monday, April 25, 2011

We were up early to start out 3 hour walk into Hooker Valley. It was very cold as the sun had yet to come over the mountains so we piled on the layers. The scenery as we moved up the valley was amazing. The cloud settling across the mountains gave them a real other world feeling, straight out of Lord of the Rings. Past the 2nd swing bridge you are in the Hooker valley and from there on the view is completely dominated by Mt. Cook, New Zealand's tallest mountain. Not huge by Alpine or Himalayan standards but apparently a very difficult mountain to climb. This area and that mountain were where Edmund Hillary got involved in mountaineering and where he actually trained prior to his climbing of Mt. Everest. After a relatively easy walk up the valley we arrived at the glacier lake which actually had a few little icebergs floating in it! The Hooker Glacier itself was in view and the whole area of scree and streams was very peaceful.

We headed back down to the car and with the sun now fully on us spent the time stripping off our layers. Anyone we met coming from the car park now was in shorts and t-shirts as it was so hot. What a difference a few hours makes! We made a quick stop at the Hillary museum and headed on.

That night we stayed in one of the nicest camping spots yet. In New Zealand the Department of Conservation (DOC) runs all the National parks etc. and is very good at providing campsites for very good prices with a lot of them actually being free. The one we stayed in this night was called Lindis Pass and was situated by the ruins of an old hotel about 10km down a gravel track of the main road. It was a really cool place to spend the night and the colours of the autumn trees in the morning was a nice sight to wake up to.
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