Monday, February 20, 2006

A wilderness walk

Today we were all too aware of why a 4x4 is a good idea here. We drove up the Nevis Road - a grit road, one of the highest vehicle roads in NZ at 3,000' - and then walked through the high wilderness of the hills behind Bannockburn to a place called Duffer's Saddle, where the Carrick Race begins its downward journey to the fields far below.

The first thing we noticed was the drop in temperature. At 10.30am it was already warm in Cromwell, but at 3,000' a chill wind had us in our cagoules as soon as we left the vehicle. But the landscape was immense - literally and figuratively speaking. The grit road and the dusty tracks were lonely ribbons over featureless scrub for mile after folded mile, punctuated erratically by massive tors any of which could have stood in for Weathertop in the LotR movie. We scrambled up to one and found our legs bleeding from the attentions of the lethal jaggy plants I've already photographed - they were ubiquitous.

The views all around were tremendous; I've chosen to blog this one of a distant view of Mount Difficulty (1285m) because it sounds like something out of Pilgrim's Progress. We were the pilgrims today - and we made it home just ahead of the rain!


  1. Chritsine, John nice to hear that you are having such a good time. Keep up the flow of info

  2. How wonderfully bleak it looks! Why do we love "bleak" so much?

  3. Hi, Jim - good to hear from you!
    Bun - bleak is good. It leads to other things. See todays' blog ...