Routeburn Track 2

My room-mate last night was a taciturn US marine who, thanks to having a cold, was a man of more sneezes than words. Fascinatingly, he managed to produce all of his few words without moving his jaw – which encouraged me to keep asking him questions. I had been worried about snoring, but ended up far more concerned about germs.

After a hearty breakfast the route started steeply up the mountain-side out of the valley. We were walking through curtains of green with moss and lichen dripping from every rock and branch.

The path was steep and rocky but I passed the time chatting with a lovely American couple and hardly noticed. Although my new American friends turned out to be uber-fit and competitive so the pace we set up to lunch was ridiculous. Lunch was on the saddle between two peaks and after lunch we detoured up one of them – Mount Conical. I made it two-thirds of the way up before deciding that the idea of coming back down the steep slope ahead was not to my taste.

The final section followed lake and river down an expansive valley, finally ending up at the eponymous Falls for the night.

I did not swim beneath the falls as some of my fellows did, but I did sit by the water and contemplate why waterfalls seem to draw humans in. The white water? The sense of power? The noise? There’s something endlessly compelling about waterfalls. And today’s was a fine example.

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