25.5km, 10 hours
It’s the first day of autumn (March 1st) and we wake up to frost on the ground. River crossings burn the toes.
There’s another marked difference: somewhere yesterday we crossed from Canterbury to Otago. And the trees are back. I missed them. It’s been two weeks without trees on the trails, really just tussock land. It’s nice to see green again.
At the top of Breast Hill, we are on top of the world. It’s been a hard day climbing, and the last bit was 1000m up. But it’s worth it. You can see all of Lake Hawea, beautiful farmland, and layers of mountains lead all the way to Mt. Aspiring. The steepness and height of this perch remind me of Halfdome in Yosemite looking down to the valley below. It may be the very best view we’ve had in the trail yet.
The birds eye is so good, I can look on the trail maps for tomorrow and see the roads and trails and rivers we’ll follow all the way into Wanaka, nearly a 40km stroll from this hilltop. It is the “view of kings” says Rebecca.