Looking for hiking advices at Jason’s is always a tidius thing to do. We have heard of stories where a group led by him had to go through very hard times in steap and snowy mountains, needing to bivouac because of heavy snow and a lot of tears. But also that some of the best hikes done in New Zealand were led by him. He gave us a few options and we chose the one where most of the people seamed to have enjoyed it, Mt Titirua. This is a possible to do in 1 day for Jason, hard 2 days, we would do it in a three day tramp.
We started in a small village called Manapouri, where we had an appointment with our taxi boat guy Mike to cross the river. A really nice, about 70 year old guy, one more of those New Zealand bushmens (as Christine calls them) that are common to meet in the area. He complained that Queenstown was “horrible, too many people there” and “Te Anau, too many people but all right”. Before letting us out of his boat he asked us several times about our equipment and repeated about 10 times not to get lost.
The tramp started on a well made path through beautiful native forests, full of fern and moss. It went on like this for a while until we reached a pretty cold creek that we had to cross, luckily the water was not too high, but it reminded me of the movie In To The Wild, when on his way back the creek rised so much that he was trapped. Knowing that the weather was going to get bad, I was a bit afraid of this option and knew we might need to camp on the other side for a few days before we could cross back, but kept it for myself.
Once the river crossed it changed world. No track what so ever and a 500m climb straight up a super steep hill. Christines feet were not doing great as her princess feet were not used to the hiking boots anymore and a big blister was already showing up before the climb. After 2 to 3 hours climb, and me inherating a second backpack after a while, we were very happy and exhausted when reaching the top and found a spot for the tent.
The night was nice and we overslept. The weather however changed and we had to deal with rain. Christine was not up for the summit as her body was sore, but after some motivating and bending some facts about the climb we went for it. She did a great job and even accepted to climb rocks which were looking a bit scary even to me all in this snowy weather. She pushed herself so hard that when reaching the top a small uncontrolled release of tears occured for a second. But tears are apparantly mandatory on this beautiful mountain.
The way back went smooth and Christine was a bit annoyed that I was rushing down the steep hill, in reality I was just hoping to be able to cross the creek as early as possible. This went perfect and we could spend the rainy night on the other side. The next day we had to run to catch our taxi boat as the meeting point was at 12 and there was of course no cellphone coverage. Also the 3 hours described by Jason were more like 5.
This adventure was amazing and the nature great! However, a few days were needed after that for recovery.