Thursday, July 25, 2019

Aoraki/Mount Cook, Queen of the Southern Alps

We left Lake Tekapo under low clouds and drove an hour to Lake Pukaki, at the head of which sits Aoraki/Mt Cook, queen of the Southern Alps.  See it below, the notched peak in shadow? At 12, 218 feet, it's the tallest mountain in NZ and the one that Sir Edmund Hillary practiced on for his Everest summit.

Here's a satellite map (click here to view if reading in email):
The clouds lifted when we arrived. Tomorrow, as you might have guessed, we'll be privileged to walk in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. 

We're staying at Glentanner, the only campground on the fringe of the national park (though there is a DOC site within the park).  It's unique in that it sits on a sheep station, has a cafe, and runs regular helicopter trips to the glaciers.

In 2015, we walked the park's glorious Hooker Valley Track and I'm deeply grateful we did, not least because it's closed now due to 20+ inches of rain in March that washed out some key components. Here's a favorite picture, made at the foot of Aoraki on Glacier Lake, and here's our record of that memorable walk, one of my favorite outings ever. More in the making...

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