Participants: Craig McKenzie, Glenn Symon, David Steer, Jenny Longstaff
Article written by Jenny
Hooray! End of the working week and let’s get outta here! Arrived at Sylvan campsite (60+km beyond Glenorchy) by about 10.30pm and erected our tents under the trees to keep out of the hoar frost zone. Seemed to be several other campers tucked away too, plus deer. Hot cuppa brewed and so to bed, snugly tucked up in several layers and sleeping with camera to keep battery warm (I only had the one battery, unlike Craig who had 10!).
rosy-fingered dawn / beckons early riser / cupping a tin mug
Caterer Craig’s cordon bleu fare provided nourishment then off to the start of the Routeburn Track. The guys were lugging their tramping packs, camera bags and tripods, signalling a serious photographic expedition, while my camera gear is a small point and shoot waterproof camera (not that I have ever used it underwater, but on a South Island tramping trip you never know!!). I was on the trip mainly for the tramping and was delighted to discover that it triggered some poetic notebook scribblings, as you shall see interspersed in this account.
green therapy / nature’s healing touch / in the balm of your land
The track itself and bridge crossings are very well constructed, the Routeburn Track being designated a Great Walk. Our destination for Saturday night was the Routeburn Falls hut, (capacity 48), so with plenty of time to get there and only 8 or so km to walk, we could dawdle beside the picturesque river, photographing the beech forest, ferns, waterfalls, mossy rocks and other forest details, with some kakariki, south island robins, tom tits and riflemen for company.
inquisitive visitors / tiny bush birds / strut their fluff
We took a lunch break at an old landslip site which afforded great views across to the Humboldt Mountains, then eventually we arrived at the Falls Hut, dumped our things then out again to explore the Falls area, rich pickings for compositions of rocks and water, foliage, mountain scenery and atmospherics. The weather was holding well, so I continued along the track until I could get a view of Lake Harris.
focused photographer / captures panorama / exposure on the summit
The evening was spent consuming Chef Craig’s candle-lit dinner and huddling over a reluctant wood burner. (The next morning he discovered the water tank and the coal shed.) We had chatted to some other trampers on the track, but the only other people staying at the hut were two young Invercargill women. Tough kiwis go winter tramping!
crumbling erosion / swirling tannin waters / dunking gingernuts
And then it rained all night. A deluge. No point getting up early. Later in the morning in typically fickle style it cleared and we ventured out at 11-ish, spending time checking out the waterfalls, gushing most spectacularly, before we descended to the lower valley for other riverside photo stops, with a lunch break at the Routeburn Flats hut.
raging river / chuting the rapids / canyon clefts
The rain had woken up all the tiny lichens and mosses and had turned the river and side streams into torrents, but we were relatively dry on our hike out.
washed clean / forest greens gleam / radiant after rain
It was a pretty good outing for photographic variety, from wide angle vista to macro minutiae, and best part on a tramping excursion with fellow photographers is that they don’t pick on you to keep up! Back at the vehicle it was good to shed our packs and get out of our boots, then we did a side trip to photograph ‘the Paradise tree’. A great weekend away, proving that you can cram a lot into a short space of time, creating memorable moments.
tongues hanging out / waiting by back door / muddy hiking boots