NZ Day 4: Tekapo to Omarama, Mt. Cook

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Weather did not cooperate. I persevered.

Saturday, December 3

Mt. Cook was sort of a bust. Got a late start due to the observatory excursion last night that got me back to camp after 2am. Weather was cooler and windy. I forgot to buy fuel which forced a 10 minute detour to Twizel before heading back towards Mt. Cook. Lake Pukaki is beautiful, but the weather closed in by the time I got to the trailheads at Mt. Cook Village.

I attempted to lead a group of jovial Brazilians on an aborted hike up the Hooker Valley. About half an hour in, we decided that conditions were going south (or, in the southern hemisphere, do things “go north?”) too quickly and none of us were really equipped to be hit by a sudden alpine storm. By “we” I really mean “me,” since they had zero experience outdoors in alpine conditions and relied on me for advice. Though I’ve hiked in worse, I’ve always done it with proper gear and only in mountains that I know reasonably well. Neither was the case here.

I made my way back to the main road, then on to Omarama, where I got a small cabin for only 20 NZD over the cost of a tent campsite. Simple accommodation with two bunk beds and use of shared campground facilities. I opted for the pub down the street over cooking for myself. Monteith’s Cloudy Golden Pale Ale with Fish and Chips.

If having a roof over my head is as inexpensive an option elsewhere as it is here, I may not camp much unless I have to.

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