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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

NZ: Southern Alps Hiking Hooker Valley Track

Mt Aoraki / Mt. Cook Hooker Valley track.  Amazingly accessible!
A baker's dozen Mount Aoraki / Mt. Cook Hooker Valley Track postcard-y photos, because if a picture's worth 1,000 words, betcha don't want to read 13,000 words.  Click here if you'd like to learn more about Mt. Cook / Mt. Aoraki National Park - New Zealand's Southern Alps.

First alpine lake on the Hooker Valley track in Mt. Cook / Aoraki
National Park on New Zealand's South Island.
Mt. Aoraki/ Mt. Cook's Hooker Valley trail features
three massive suspension bridges.
Lake at the end of Hooker Valley trail, Mt. Aoraki / Mt. Cook
National Park, South Island, New Zealand.

New Zealand's Hooker Valley trail milky-white river
rages, opaque with glacial silt.
Stripped foliage on Hooker Valley track in New Zealand's Mt. Aorakigave me the impression that water, ice or both occasionally
power down the trail as much as walkers. 
Clouds, shadows and soft morning light painted the river's boulders
a periwinkle hue.  Hooker Valley trail, Mt Cook /Aoraki National Park,
New Zealand, South Island.
Tundra-like alpine meadows provided the perfect foreground for
Mt. Aoraki / Mt. Cooks spectactular glacial peaks
on the Hooker Valley trail.
Near the turn around point at the trail's end.  the basic rocks aside
the trail shone and revealed a dusting of red lichen as sunlight
filtered down on the Hooker Valley track.  South Island,
New Zealand's Mt. Cook / Mt. Aoraki National Park.
Hooker Valley track view at the end of the trail.
Mt. Cook /Mt. Aoraki National Park, South Island, New Zealand.
Pond off spur on the way back along Hooker Valley track,
New Zealand's Mt. Aoraki / Mt. Cook National Park.  Unlike the lakes
and rivers of alpine silt, note how clear this lake is!

Another view of the same Hooker Valley trail alpine lake;
an erosion slide, a common feature in New Zealand geology
is evident in force.  Mt. Cook / Mt. Aoraki National Park.
Lest there be any doubt - "summer" or not - this is glacier country!
60x zoom on the Hooker Valley trail, Mt. Aoraki /
 Mt. Cook National Park, New Zealand.
In a rare burst of blue skies, Hooker Valley's
slightly silty stream took on a gorgeous blue sheen.
New Zealand's Mt/ Cook / Mt. Aoraki National Park.
This slightly less than 3-hour Hooker Valley Mt. Aoraki / Mt. Cook National Park hike thus far is the highlight for me in our travels though New Zealand.  After throngs of selfie-taking tourists at other locations, I was thrilled to have the trail almost entirely to myself until I was about 1/3 of the way back from the trail's end.

Done!  Not realizing Hooker valley trail was 1 hour 35 minutes
each way, I couldn't understand until I finished why it took me
2 hours 45 minutes.  Turns out I was fast, despite photo-taking.
Location Location
This is a recent retrospective of our month-long New Zealand road trip, which started from North Islands, North Island, leaving Whangarei, January 10, 2016, all the way down to Bluff, New Zealand’s Southernmost South Island mainland point. We arrived in Canterbury Region, Mt Aoraki / Cook National Park (43°35′44.69″S 170°8′27.75″E) January 29, 2016, and left the following day.  Over a week’s passed since we returned to Whangarei from our road trip, on February 7, 2016.  We've moved to Whangarei’s Riverside Marina (S35.43.674 E174.20.17) for ~4 weeks of much-needed intensive boat work before we resume cruising.


Sailing by the Numbers
Last year, between December 2014 and November 2015 we sailed from Florida USA to New Zealand, over 10,000 miles (visiting USA, Cuba, Colombia, Panama, Galapagos [Ecuador], French Polynesia, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand).  We will resume serious cruising when cyclone season ends in ~April 2016.  We have not yet decided whether to sail to Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu then Australia (~4,000 miles), or just to Australia (~1,500 miles).