Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Zealand 2016 Day 15. Matukituki

We are back in Mt. Aspiring National Park, but this time on the east side. From Wanaka we took the paved road up the Matukituki River, which all of a sudden turned into a gravel road with jarring washboard. Still, we persevered and pretty soon were immersed in the landscape of The Hobbit. Remember when Bilbo and the dwarves are being chased by orcs mounted on wolves through knolls covered by some weird moss? Well, that is exactly what we have on the shoulders of the steep flanks of the Matukituki valley. The rocks are gneisses with pretty constant foliation directions.

The Matukituki valley forks upstream into two different forks. We followed the west fork, crossing a series of fords, until eventually we made it to the end of the road, in view of snow-clad Mt. Aspiring. Anna had to prepare herself for the hike, so I went ahead and had a magical walk up a broad valley, always getting closer and closer to the mountains but never actually getting there. After a couple of hours I turned around but didn’t see Anna anywhere. When I got to the car I realized that she must have taken the side trip up to the Rob Roy glacier. It took her another hour to get back, but she was pretty happy with her hike as well. We were both in such good spirits that we decided to spend the night in the valley, with the lose plan to hike up the east fork of the Matukituki.

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