Getting Back to Our Roots – Paddy’s Point

“On a Mish” #254 Paddy’s Point. 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. But if forced to make a choice I would have to say New Zealand’s best multi-day hike is the Routeburn Track. The multi national park track has everything a modern day trekker could need. Views, huts / lodges and enough of a challenge to remind your legs they were made for walking. But far from a grueling multi-day challenge that will have you heading straight to your sleeping bag upon arrival at each hut / lodge. The alpine aspect does mean the weather will provide its own entertainment, and snow can happen anytime of the year on the elevated sections of the track…

Before Aotearoa was one of the most sought after tourist destinations on the planet, people being guided on the Routeburn Track had a rest day at one of the two lodges on the track. The vague remains of these ‘side tracks’ are still visible / usable, and they take you to some of the best panoramas in the country. Some of my best friends have been part of the Routeburn Whanau at some stage during their life, and knowing what awaits the ones who have put in the effort to hike the track keeps bringing them back again and again. Some time had passed since my last visit, so after visiting my brother from another mother in Queenstown the plan was made to head to the Routeburn. A popular side trip during the rest day era was to a group of tarns above Routeburn Falls which have been nicknamed ‘Paddy’s Point’. A few years had passed since both of us had been there, so we weren’t going to let a forecast of heavy rain spoil our trip down memory lane. We left the high cloud and the feeling of rain in the air in Queenstown, and headed for the Routeburn Shelter. We arrived at the carpark and were surprised that the area was still dry. As we readied ourselves for the mish, the peace in the area was interrupted by the deep, intimidating boom of thunder. After a couple more booms the rain arrived, and it arrived in force.

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

The beech forest offered some protection, but once we climbed above Routeburn Falls we were exposed to the full force of the storm. As both of us don’t let rain slow us down, we kept matching on to our desired destination. 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. After a few photos we both came to the conclusion that our wet weather gear had met its match and was no longer serving its purpose, and began the journey back to the Routeburn Shelter. The only thing that had changed since both of us had been there was the date, and the mission had fulfilled our appetite for the area… For now!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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