Do your homework to avoid disappointment

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Do your homework to avoid disappointment

Postby wayno » Sun 19 Jan, 2014 6:55 am

Do your homework to avoid disappointment
Those of you who've done much tamping in NZ this won't be anything new.
yes NZ is very scenic, but theres a massive variety in the landscape and tracks on offer.
It depends where you're coming from, but the great walks may be not so great for some people.
they are essentially footpaths in the bush,,, bit stony in some places, but easy to follow tracks, mud has mostly been eliminated, navigation not required, they are busy in summer, you could find yourself in a hut with 50 other people trying to dry out wet gear. campsites arent so bad, numbers are lower, could be around a dozen tents... in winter once the huts have had the gas for the cookers removed and the flush loos have been decommissioned for winter the no's of people (and price of the huts) drop off markedly
but even in the peak season you can still find some solitude on your walk on the track especially if you get away early in the morning...
despite the easiness of the great walks, the weather can still stop you in your tracks, flooding on the milford can shut the walk down, people have been known to be evacuated by helicoptered or sent back the way they came. similarly on some of the other walks you could find yourself retracing your steps when bad weather prevents progression on the track, and that can be in mid summer, there can be a lot of bad weather in summer, including snow. i've been unable to stand upright on parts of the routeburn track and unable to look straight ahead the rain stung my face so much and blinded me....
people "hear" about certain tracks and do them without doing enough homework and don't realise what they are getting themselves in for, most new zealnd tracks are reasonably rough by international standards, and can be difficult to navigate, the "track" may just be blazes stuck to the occasional tree and thats all, not much of a followable track under foot, or it could be badly over grown and you have to keep navigating to stay on the track,
Some spectacularly scenic tramps can be extremly hard going and exhausting and dangerous especially when the weather turns rough, you can be stuck on a track waiting for rivers to fall and that could be for days if you're really unlucky, although usually a few hours can be enough for a water course to become safe to travel...
or claims of tramps being scenic may be over rated and you find them boring plods...
i dont rate the milford as highly as some other tramps in NZ, yes parts of it are extremely scenic but if you dont like walking for hours on end in repetitive bush and little view on an easy track you may not be a bit disappointed,,,
the queen charlotte walk, is highly rated, but most of the bush is just regrowth, the track is more like a dirt road, there are some great views, but for me there can be too much with your head stuck in mediocre bush on a long track to keep it interesting.... still i come back to it, its a very sheltered track by and large and doable in all weathers and seasons provided you can get to your start point by water taxi... and theres some great choices in luxury accommodation or you can camp if you want... I was there recently, a severe storm hit wellington hard at the time but it was pretty minor in nearby queen charlotte sound because of the shelter offered by the hills... but this is hardly a get away from it all track , so again despite its great billing its not for everyone, its "glamping" not tramping...
people rave about the rees dart and cascade saddle. but every other year someone is killed on the cascade saddle, and there are multiple serious injuries, because people ignore the warnings and go in bad weather or dont have experience tramping on a rough steep track covered in bulky tussock grass and slippery rock.
I've done some pretty rough tramps off the beaten track and some of it has been pretty stressful, some i wouldnt want to repeat..
theres areas in nz that would scare the living daylights out of me despite my experience.. what some trampers do in NZ just amazes me, but they can be so low key about it as to make the trip seem far far easier than it is.. the amount of suffering and danger some people will put up with is pretty massive and that shouldnt be under estimated, I read matter of fact accounts about some pretty hard trips i wouldnt want to do myself and it can be deceptive reading it to think it would be a great adventure. For some it would be , for others it could be a nightmare,.
I like reading about explorers trips, but its not till you tackle that terrain yourself can you really understand the difficulty involved.
the marketing shows sunny skies,, but often you may see little of that even in summer... just realise that might be your experience when you are planning your trip to NZ...
from the land of the long white clouds...

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wayno
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Re: Do your homework to avoid disappointment

Postby Isis » Sun 19 Jan, 2014 12:11 pm

Now you tell me, we spent 10days walking the Heaphy then the Wangapeka early Dec and it rain every one of then. Still a great trip.
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Re: Do your homework to avoid disappointment

Postby wayno » Sun 19 Jan, 2014 12:31 pm

Isis wrote:Now you tell me, we spent 10days walking the Heaphy then the Wangapeka early Dec and it rain every one of then. Still a great trip.


exactly. it's what you make of it,, 8)
from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: Do your homework to avoid disappointment

Postby Bubbalouie » Sun 19 Jan, 2014 1:24 pm

Lake Waikeramoana was one of my first longish hikes (or was meant to be). The day started sunny, after a few hours we were caught in a storm. I wrenched my knee when a trench collapsed. By the time I got to the top and back down my knee was all purple and splodgy. My knee has never been as reliable since.

We're going back this November to do the full loop of the lake, what I did get to see was beautiful. That one failed hike taught me a lot.
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