Were it not for the long-suffering, I fear my can do mentality literally speaking ‘will be the death of me’ especially since ‘The Accident’. Having climbed Mount Robert, I was all set to ‘off itinery’ book a guide and climb Mount Cook as our next challenge!
Day 20 Mount Cook – The nearer we drove to this monstrous snow covered mountain the more I realised how naive my initial thoughts of climbing to the summit – all 12,218 feet – really were. Luckily my long-suffering, by far the more intelligent – and sensible – in these matters had over-rode my impulsive misjudged vision, realising no guide would even consider a recovering revision hippie six months out from major surgery!
Instead we took the more hip friendly option ‘The Hooker Valley Track’ although with three suspension bridges to cross, this was not long-suffering friendly. The trek was four hours long with stops, mostly on the flat, some parts rocky, good walking paths, boardwalks and various viewpoints along the way, it seemed easy compared to our most recent walks!
Our trail took us up through the Hooker valley, along the Hooker River ending at the glacier lake – a mere 80m elevation, with clear blue skies Mount Cook was a sight to behold. Our surprise at the sizeable icebergs protruding out from the glacier lake was one of astonishment, as the hot sun beat down relentlessly on us and them!
Sitting eating our packed lunch, the layers soon started to go back on, for me anyway, as the temperature was noticeably cooler here even with the hot sun. I declined the usual urge to swim, not wishing to share my swimming space with icebergs, and merely watched as a young lad stripped off ran in and quickly ran back out screaming as his partner laughing snapped away!
The return route was back the way we came meaning long-suffering had to endure six walks over three suspension bridges. By the time he got over the last one his height demons were taking flight!
Back at base the sun was still shining, foregoing the planned bike trail ride, we decided to lay out on the grass, soak up the suns rays, down cold beers and do absolutely nothing, just for a change. It did feel slightly surreal laying back with hot sun on my bare limbs looking at the snow capped mountains in front of us, but oh what bliss!