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

“On a Mish” #396 An Audience with Aoraki (Part Three). Red Tarns Track. Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. 11.3.2024. I’m sure that those who have had major injuries can relate to the frustration of knowing what you used to be able to do. Before hurting my hip and back I used to be able to fly up and down mountains with ease, and now I am doing everything I can simply to match the hiking times stated on the signs at each track I visit. I used to use the Red Tarns Track as a quick up and down to get my heart rate up. Now as I began to tramp the track my heart rate was already up, due to me being nervous about whether I could even make it to the top of the track…

It is nice to have reassurance from whanau and friends, as it can become difficult to get a gauge on your progress sometimes. I still remember the early days of my injury when I would do less than 1000 steps during an entire week. Nowadays I have had many days with over 10,000 steps clocked up, and I have gone from basic walks around home to undulating terrain and even the odd mountain. The last four years have been interesting to say the least, and it might not feel like it sometimes, but I have come a very long way since a fridge door unexpectedly rearranged my life.

The day before we met up in Twizel, my old man Jeremy had played a game of cricket in the blazing hot Canterbury sun. So today he was just going to see how far he could go and not push himself. The last time we went for a wander in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park Jeremy got heat stroke and wasn’t having as much fun as Julie and myself!

I forgot how fast my parents walk so it didn’t take long for them to get ahead of me. I started running to catch up and immediately realised it wasn’t an option. How I used it run up and down this track now boggles my mind, I must have been rather fit back then! The day and the scenery put a stop to any negative feelings, and together we all marched towards our objectives. As predicted Jeremy got about a third of the way up the track and then called it a day. He did not want a repeat of the last time we came here!

After saying goodbye to Jeremy, Julie and I carried on upward. We had to stop often and at each stop we saw more of Aoraki Mt Cook. The perfectly crafted peak is nothing short of breath-taking, and with a blue sky backdrop we were seeing the mighty mountain in all its glory. We were in the audience for the Aoraki Show, we just needed to get to the best seats in the house.

During our climb up the track there was a younger American couple who at first passed us while we struggled our way upward. Their speed slowed to a point where we passed them, and they seemed less than impressed with all the uphill hiking on the Red Tarns Track. Now that we were in front of them, I was determined that Julie and I would beat them to the top…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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