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Soon Lee

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04:59 pm: Routeburn: Part Two
DAY ONE (continued).

We reached the Routeburn Flats in good time. The Flats was where the North Branch of the Routeburn forked off & it is possible to do it as a side trip. But as it would have added 4-5 hours to our day, we decided to pass. Instead, we stopped at a shelter by the Flats campsite for lunch. By now, the rain had slowed to a slight drizzle, and cheered by the lightening sky, we had a very pleasant lunch.

After lunch, we rejoined the track which would climb its way upwards to Routeburn Falls Hut, where we would spend the night. Shortly after commencing the climb, my knee began to hurt (despite pre-emptive anti-inflammatories, strapping & bracing). The pain wasn't too bad - so long as it didn't get worse, I should be o.k. for the rest of the walk.

Routeburn Flats looking toward the north branch of the Routeburn River. It was still drizzling. This was our lunch spot.

Post lunch. We have left Routeburn Flats and have been climbing steadily to Routeburn Falls hut. We are looking back down at the Flats and the Routeburn River.

This is a section of the track (ha ha) that was so unformed & steep that railings were emplaced.

The verandah of Routeburn Falls Hut. Walkers have removed wet gear and are using the rails to dry laundry. It's a pretty cool view down onto Routeburn Flats. Shame it was so overcast.

Later afternoon and the sun finally shows itself. This was the only time we saw the sun during the whole tramp. There actually was a patch of blue sky, briefly, just to taunt us.

Some insect.

Once we got settled in, did the requisite cool-down and stretching & I put some anti-inflammation gel on the knee, we met up in the common room. The weather was still crappy, so we stayed indoors and played cards until dinnertime. Dinner was cheese tortellini with a tomato-based sauce and salami and green beans. It was delicious.

At 7:30pm, the Ranger gave us our hut talk and reminded us to not light up any candles in the sleeping area & to tidy up after ourselves. He also gave us a challenge. There was a poster on one of the walls with Christmas greetings written in various languages. A slab of chocolate was on offer if we could name at least twenty five of the languages from the ~30 greetings. We managed 21, so no chocolate. Some of the languages were either obscure (Madagascan) or so similar to each other they were hard to distinguish (Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, Afrikaans). I was able to contribute a few of the Asian ones (Hindi, Malay, Thai) - amazing the ability to recognize a language despite not being able to read it.

Next up: Day Two.

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