Well rested (kinda) after the first night in the van. Day 2 started early. Half by choice, half because of the fact we were sleeping on a slope in a van. However it was still a choice to be up before the sun. We started the day with a quick porridge with a side of struggling the lace up our boots in the freezing cold.
The plan was to hike to the top of Avalanche peak. One of the more risky hikes of the trip. As the name suggests, this trail crosses many avalanche fields and over looks Arthur's pass. It was rocky, It was cold, and the thought of 'trench foot' crept in as the rain didn't hold off for the entire 5 and a half hours.
The trail started off following a stream up the hill. This was one of the steepest sections. The scramble was made more difficult with the rain, slippery rocks and loose ground. The first hour and a half we were fully covered by the tree line, catching glimpses of the surrounds every so often.
As the altitude increased, I couldn't help but take note to the changes in vegetation, until the point where the trees stopped. and the scarce distribution of life at this unprotected, wind swept tussle over took.
Although this part was MUCH colder, and MUCH windier, the views more than made up for it! The next few hours were a gradual climb up a well worn foot trail, made difficult by the low visibility. We were rewarded when the clouds drifted by to be met with the most picturesque scene I have ever witnessed. the pure scale of the surrounding mountains and the valley below really hit home, how small we are, and how big this world is. With the rain pelting down, we pressed on.
Perspective is a bitch. After standing at the bottom of Devils punch bowl the day before, I was sure this was one of the biggest waterfalls I had ever seen. When the clouds parted on our water break, I wasn't sure what to believe. The previously daunting and humungous waterfall now looked like a toy.
As we pressed on, things started to turn worse. From the point of "probs shouldn't be hiking this" to "we really shouldn't be up here". The hike turned to a scramble up a loose, rocky hip. With visibility of around 3m, traversing back and forth over the hip was beyond difficult and scary. With rocks slipping on every step, we decided to head back. Feeling defeated, I believe it was still the right decision to turn around so close to the top. Paying our respects to the mountain, we trudged back down a Much wetter than we remembered path, which no longer resembled an old river bed, but a full on river.
With our time in Arthur's pass up. The next chapter was about to begin, driving west we came across the most stunning bridge, (I think) in the world. The Otira Viaduct. The pictures speak enough for themselves.