An Audience with Aoraki (Part Four) – Red Tarns Track

“On a Mish” #396 An Audience with Aoraki (Part Four). Red Tarns Track. Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. 11.3.2024. Hiking is a sport / pastime where you are in a race with yourself. No matter how fast you go you can’t beat yourself to the top of a hill. And at the other end of the scale, you can’t go so slow that you will be waiting for yourself to arrive. When you head out into the wild you are playing a game with very few rules and you are the referee, sometime there are spectators around and on other occasions the mountains are the only ones in the audience…

It is strange to say that somebody’s asthma helped get me up a track. My mother suffers from asthma and at times it really affects her hiking. On this mish it had her stopping every now and then, and this was vital in getting both of us to the top of the Red Tarns Track. Another motivating factor was a younger couple that at first zoomed past us, but then slowed so we ended up passing them. Once in front we used the lead as motivation.

At one point very near the top of the track we saw the male in the couple tearing on ahead by himself. His missus, who seemed like she was in great shape, was waiting for him to return with pictures of Red Tarns. Because we were so near to the top, I told him to go get her because she was so very close. Not long after that we arrived at the track’s highpoint and both of us were stoked that we persevered in our quest to get to a place I used to jog up to.

Any remaining cloud had pushed on and Aoraki and his mountain brothers were out for all to see. We might have been the main characters on the way up, but now Aoraki Mt Cook was the star of the show, and this was a performance for the ages!

What goes up must come down, and now that it was time to return via the same way. Everything began to hurt a little bit more than on the way up. At least we would have gravity on our side this time!

Not long after beginning our downward journey we bumped into the younger couple, and we were both stoked that they had both put in the work to get the rewards, and on a day like the one we had, the rewards were immense. We left them to it and just like us they had the entire Red Tarns area to themselves. This certainly would not have been the case if we had gone to the Sealy Tarns Track. From the top of the Red Tarns Track we could see a sea of cars parked up in the distant Hooker Valley (start of the Sealy Tarns Track).

Like a car without oil my hip started to seize up, and each step became a grind on my broken bits. Foolishly, I didn’t bring my walking poles , they would have been very helpful on the way down. Getting your arms involved is a great way to take some stress off your legs, especially your knees. Eventually we managed to lower ourselves down to the valley floor, and the sight of the car and a chance to sit down was heavenly.

As far as car transfers go, this would have had to have been one of the best on record. Catching up with my family is always an epic time and it was also great to see what Twizel has on offer. But it is safe to say that the main form of entertainment on this mish was Aoraki, and to be in the audience when the skies are clear, and every ridge is on display was awesome. I can’t state how amazing Aoraki Mt Cook Village is and to get the best vantage point (or best seats in the house) I recommend you get up to either Sealy or Red Tarns. If you love mountains, then you will be the complete opposite of disappointed!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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