Three Musketeers - walking in paradise!

Trip Start Nov 28, 2011
Trip End Apr 09, 2013

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What I did
Mount Cook;
Mount John
Church of the good Shepherd

Flag of New Zealand  , Canterbury,
Monday, November 19, 2012

... the 2nd day of the three musketeers!

And what a night at the Pioneer DOC Campsite! Until next morning it seemed raining cats and dogs throughout the whole night, leaving poor Steffi abolutely confused on the campers 'top floor'. But how glad we were, when we peoning the door from our van and that beam of light shined over the moisturized scenery - we felt as if our amazing spot welcomed us to a brand new day!

Time to freshen up and prepare some delicious continental breakfast. Took we ready to leave and cross our heavily feared riverbed. We did not know what to expect. Did the last nights heavy rain turn the river into a wild stream? The only way to find out was to leave and see. Well, the water level had risen a few centimetres but not that much. So without any problems we reached the highway 79 again which we are following towards Fairlie. Of course, not without stopping halfway and taking pictures of all the deers who are queing up to see usunaware of the fact that they are propably being imported soon Europe soon - for a yummy roast dish.

Back in the van we are and hitting the road - on our way to Lake Tekapo, nestled in the heart of New Zealand's Southern Island. The lake is situated at the foot of the Southern Alps, which up to 3750 metres. Our first stop of the day would be the Church of the good Shepherd just on the shores of Lake Tekapo. It is a beautiful little church with stunning views and during the night when the sky is clear, million of bright stars are shining and reflected in the lakes surface. The Church of the Good Shepherd (1935) is a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie, with an alter window, designed "to encompass the beauty of God's creation". Its surroundings are left in their natural state, covered with matagouri, tussock and rock. 

To explore the beautiful scenery with its amazing views, we decided to walk the loop-trek that guies us up to the top of mount John and back down on the lakeside. We acually did the loop  within 2 hours, including the climb to 1.031 meters (the village is around 700 meters). The first part of the trek leads us over the steep back side of the mountain, through the woods and to the top. From here the loop makes a big circle over the mountains lake-side-shoulder down to Lake Tekapo. This is a great walk to explore the surroundings of this area and it reveals the amazing panorama of the southern Alps, with somewhere afar its highest peak: Mt. Cook.

And this actually is our next stop, heading further towards New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt Cook (Aoraki: the mountain who catches the clouds). Actually is a relatively short drive from the highest mountain of New Zealand which rises up to 3,753m. DOC has created a beatiful park area around the base camp with beautiful hiking trails.

Of course do we want to hike there as well, but before we would get there we actually will stop a couple of kilometres ahead at Glentanner Park Centre. This luxurious campsite actually is nearby and as well the place where the luggage Stefanies would be dropped. At least if we may belive the Airline and their promise. After having checked in, we were informed that her luggage was already delivered and waiting us.

 Yeay, happy Steffi!!! Finally she got her own clothes, and stuff and of course the presents for Marias birthday which her family had sent to Steffi (of course which she did not know, as birthday it was not her birthday yet)! But first we had a hot shower, fresh clothes and then it was time to prepare diner and get more information about the different trail option for the next day. Unfortunately the sand flies as well thought that it was a beautiful spot (we could see Mount Cook from our window!). But first a good rest, because tomorrow - on musketeer day number three - the top is the limit!

After a splendid night, a refreshing shower and energizing breakfast it was time to leave Glentanner. Only a  few minutes away, the village of Mt. Cook. is sitting at the foot of the mountain - a comfortable haven in one of the most unforgiving parts of New Zealand. Wherever you turn from there, it seeems as if on every side the Southern Alps surround you and scrape the sky. We were luckky with the weather, so far, as even in summer, the weather can change in the blink of an eye. The region is only 44 kilometres from the coast, so storms can suddenly come in from the Tasman Sea and create dangerous conditions for climbers and hikers. Despite the sometimes difficult conditions, Mt Cook National Park is an exceptionally beautiful place to visit. But before we would start one of our the alpine walks, it was time for some background information in the local tourist centre and the Sir Edmund Hillary (a well-know Kiwi, and first to climb legendary Mount Everest) Alpine Centre. Here you find all necessary information for exploring the surroundings, what you have to know before going on a trek or climbing the mountains. But, in this great information centre, it is not only glitter and glamour here, as in the Alpine Centre, there is a complete exposition about the tragedies that happend on mount Cook and other mountains in this area. Climbers lost their lives here as well as people who tried to rescue them. Happiness, adrenaline and tragedy sometimes are closely related.   

Having learned enough, and some good advice later the village we started our 3 hours return alpine trek, the 'Hooker Glacier Alpine Walk' towards the endings of a glacier coming from from Mt Cook. It s a exquisite sublime alpine walk with beautiful snow capped peaks touching the skys clouds. Walking there you suddenly realise how gifted we are to be here, walking in a spectacular environment in best health with good company, such a wow moment
Later we heard that it was quite unusual that there is still a lot of snow on the slopes of the mountains. What a nice surprise! It is not a difficult or dangerous walk, but due to lot of loose stones and rocks, you have to be carefull where you would make your next step. As well, there are warning because a landslide ould happen in a minute. At the end of the track, the glacier is at sight.  However, a lake of ice-cold water seperates us for this magnificent nature wonder. We sat down for a while, watching the lake resulting form the glaciers melted ice which you can see coming from the glaciers lower part, so called 'toe' also called 'terminal moraine' - but then it was time to start our way back.

We returned to our van - enjoyed some last views of the amazing area and then left behind Mt Cook. Some more beautiful memories to take with us! It is interesting to realise the peace and satisfaction but also slight sadness when leaving such a beautiful place. All the energy you get from such places sometimes makes us feel pretty small but absolutely energized and wanting more. 

But now we are on our way to the next adventure, we are on our way to Twizzle... another story is about to begin. And we can definitely promise you: 

It is very precioussssssss, and it has many Orcssssss'esss!

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