I had been wanting to do this tramp for quite a while, for slightly underhand reasons as will become aparent. Blue lake, nestled here in Nelson Lakes national park is the clearest freshwater in the whole world (as measured by the hopefully impartial National Institute for Water and Atmospheric research). So, a destination worth getting to.
It’s pretty much a two day tramp to get there… so you need a long weekend (or a nice break over Easter). We elected to take the water taxi up Lake Rotoiti cutting a nice 7km or so off the tramp. From there we hiked in one day up to the Upper Travers hut. We were carrying quite a lot of food and I admit that I was totally and completely exhausted by the time we got there. Maaike was fine, totally unfair ;)
There were quite a few small river crossings – Maaike somehow (well, quite carefully) managed to keep dry feet almost all of the way. I was lazy and just went straight through.
The hut was surprisingly full. Well, surprisingly to me. The reason it was so full was that we’ve had some pretty big storms lately and most of the other national parks in the upper South Island (Heaphy, Kaharangi) were closed. So all of those trampers came to Nelson lakes area as it was really the only place left open. Anyway, met a really really nice crowd of older trampers there, one of whom was an Icelander (so quizzed him on things to do there when we visit later on this year).
Anyway, slept pretty well, and the next day was another long one through to Blue Lake. You have to go up over the Travers saddle. It’s steepish, but not too bad.
Then a descent into the Sabine. We dumped a lot of food at the West Sabine hut before walking up the final few hours to Blue Lake.
It’s a stunning spot. Here is a photo I knicked from the NIWA Website. The only photo credit is to DOC – so … reproduced here without their permission.. I’ll take it down if they contact me ;)
We didn’t have quite the same conditions on the day. Still, it was made a _little_ more special by Maaike agreeing to marry me ;) Woohoo!. Some more pictures.
The reason the lake is so clear is that the water is filtered from Lake Constance above, through a landslide. The water which ends up in blue lake is pretty much distilled water. We walked up to Lake Constance the following morning, but it was quite misty. Here’s a picture of some mist :)
Then all to soon it was time to head back to the next hut. Back through all the avalanche zones (of which there are many). You can guess where these rather large un-licheny rocks came from.. It’s definitely not a place to linger in winter.
We did have a few sections of bush bashing where the trees had come down, but really quite short sections of a a few hundred meters at a time. We did take the water taxi back rather than (as was the plan) walk around the speargrass route, as a chunk of that track had been flattened, and we just didn’t fancy hours and hours of bush bashing.
Anyway, a lovely tramp all up, and I’m very excited & proud that Maaike has decided that I’m worth spending the rest of her life with. I’m quite looking forward to it ;)