This is the lush and rugged Routeburn Track in New Zealand. Specifically this is on the Milford side of the “Great Walk” through the dense Southern Beech trees. I love trails like this. A rocky narrow trail that is well-worn and yet nature encroaches on all sides. I am a naturalist when it comes to my trails. I dislike paved, wide, easy access terrain that is designed to accommodate way too much traffic in “nature.” Even the Routeburn at times feels over built, especially with its foot bridges. I understand the need for those trails, but the type of trail pictured here is my ideal choice.
We hiked this trail last April and while it is a fairly easy trail to navigate, it is well removed from civilization. While the trail itself is about 20 miles long (one-way) the road around is nearly 225 miles. So needless to say when hiking this trail you feel and are remote. It is an amazing, mountainous trek.
This past winter (August in New Zealand) a young Czech lady found herself stranded and alone on this trail after her male partner slipped and fell from the trail and died.
She made her way to the huts near Lake Mackenzie. My wife and I actually stayed in one of these huts when we crossed over about three months earlier. She broke into the warden’s hut (AKA: The ranger) and managed to survive there for nearly a month before she was found. This is a good reminder to let people know your itinerary so if you don’t show up on time they know to send people out looking for you.
If you want a beautiful mountain backpacking trip, I would highly recommend this one… but perhaps avoid winter.