Walking up Ben Lomond, Queenstown
14.03.2008 - 14.03.2008 23 °C
That is our 3rd week today which is scary because in some respect it has gone fast but in others it feels like ages since we were on the Americas Cup boat in Auckland.
Today we thought we would get away from it all by doing the Ben Lomond summit walk which is 1748m high above Queenstown. Safety first again, we went to the Hotel reception to let them know where we were going and to our surprise the Chillian receptionist had done the walk herself and gave us some top tips, certainly a lot different than when with did the Alex Knob track at Frans Josef when they hardly knew the track existed at the camp site.
There are so few tracks around these parts, relatively speaking compared to Scotland, that they are really well signposted and maps are so large scale that they do not have enough detail. This was our excuse for not taking one with us and as usual the first 100 meters we may have gone slightly wrong and had to walk back to the start to look at the board with the route on it. I used my initiative though and took a photo of the route with my camera so we did not make the same mistake again, although setting the map to true north proved somewhat tricky!!!!
The route took us up near the Gondola then out onto open hillside with only scrub vegetation, rewarding us with excellent views most of the way. It was a bit of a push for the top but we did manage it in about three and a bit hours. Like a magician not willing to unveil his trick until the last minute only after the final push to the top did the mountain reveal the 360degree view we had sweated for. Words or photos can not come close to describing the beauty from the top and with hardly a cloud in the sky it was just “awesome”.
Me on top of Ben Lomond
By the time we got back to the hotel my feet we a little swore and after a bit of a soak in the bath I may have had a tiny afternoon power knap to revitalise me. Top day though. We have no plans for tomorrow although there are a few logistics that need to be sorted out. I am sure we will do something that will increase our photo count enough to really bore our families when we get home though.
The two numpties on the top
Comedy moment of the day: Me getting nearly to the top and realising my feet are hurting more than usual and the getting my boots off only to find I had not put the insoles back in from Frans Josef walk. This was to prove a fatal mistake on the down trek as there are seams in my walking boots right on the heels and so I am now sitting typing this with two blisters on the bottom of both feet. Numptie.
Hobitometer: back by popular demand, today and yesterday combined gets a 4 awks out of 5 due to several reasons. We did see where they filmed various scenes from middle earth around Queenstown. Also Julian tried to drag me into the Lord of the Rings shop in town to buy a plastic Awk axe, fortunately I managed to stand my ground even though they did have the LOR tour. Finally Julian said I looked like Gandalf the grey with my stubble and the fact that because my feet were hurting me so much I had to pick up a wooden staff to take the weight off!!!!