Getting Back to Our Roots – Paddy’s Point

“On a Mish” #254 Back to Our Routes. Paddy’s Point (Routeburn Track). Mt Aspiring National Park. 7.12.2019. I always like to say my favourite track is “One I haven’t walked yet”. Not knowing what’s around the next corner makes the experience more exciting and enjoyable in my mind. However to some this is an insufficient answer. So if forced to pick one track I always go with the Routeburn Track. Not only is it an epic three days out in the mountains, but it is also a place that has helped shape me (and many others) into the dude I am today. The track had the same effect on my good friend Mark (who was also lucky enough to work there), so when possible we love to return to the area so we can get back to our outdoor adventure routes / roots…

Views, huts / lodges, plus enough of a challenge to remind your legs they were made for walking are available on the Routeburn Track. While challenging, it is far from a gruelling multi-day slog so you will be able to enjoy the views after each day on the track.

While the hike is very pleasing to the eyes the alpine aspect does mean the weather will provide its own entertainment at times. And this can mean snow can fall at anytime of the year on the elevated sections of the track. Be aware, be prepared and you will have nothing to fear!

Before Aotearoa was one of the most sought after tourist destinations on the planet, people being guided on the Routeburn Track had the option of a rest day at one of the two lodges on the track. If the hikers were after something to do on their ‘day off’ the guides would take them on an ‘off track adventure’. The vague remains of the side tracks that would be followed are still visible / usable today and if you are lucky enough to know about the whereabouts of some of these tracks then you will have an added bonus to an already outstanding outdoor outing.

Some time had passed since my last visit to the area that moulded me into the person I am today, so after visiting my ‘brother from another mother with the same name’ in Queenstown, the plan was made to head to the Routeburn track for a reccy up to Paddy’s Point. A less than inviting forecast was on the cards, but we weren’t going to let a little bit of heavy rain spoil our trip down memory lane.

We left the high cloud and smell of rain in the air at Queenstown and headed alongside the magnificent Lake Wakatipu for the start of the track at the Routeburn Shelter. We arrived at the carpark and were surprised that the area was still dry. Maybe the forecast was wrong?

As we began to prepare ourselves for our mish up the valley, the peace and quiet in the area was interrupted by the deep, intimidating boom of thunder. Now I love a good bass sound in my music but the rumble of thunder was so deep that the sound distorted as it entered our eyes.

Storm Clouds Over Mt Momus(2148m) & Bridal Veil Falls(220m)

After a couple more booms the rain arrived in the Routeburn Valley, and within a matter of only a few moments it was bucketing down. The beech forest offered some protection, but once we climbed up to and then above Routeburn Falls we were exposed to the full force of the powerful precipitation.

Soaked but satisfied we trekked up the rough side track above Routeburn Falls knowing we only had a few more steps to go before we got to our final destination before turning back. Paddy’s Point had only aged like a fine wine, and the view was made even more dramatic by the dark storm clouds swirling amongst the lofty mountains that stand above the Routeburn Valley. This is where we both belong and it was awesome to get back to our roots on the Routeburn Track.

After a few photos we both came to the conclusion that our wet weather gear had met its match and it was time to begin the journey back to the Routeburn Shelter. The short sharp day trip had done wonders for both of us and it was great to get back to where we both used to work back in the day. The only thing that had changed since both of us had been there was the date. Both of us knew that our outdoor roots had grown into a mountain loving maturity at the time we both worked on the incredible wonder / wander that is the Routeburn Track…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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