Monday, February 24, 2014
Katharina and I spent the weekend in Nelson to relax and recover from the Queen Charlotte before setting off for a few days in Nelson Lakes National Park. The drive to St. Arnaud, the gateway to the park, was only an hour and a half, but the dramatic temperature change would suggest otherwise. We got out of the car and it immediately felt about 20 degrees colder. We left hot and sunny Nelson for the perfect example of erratic New Zealand weather, and found ourselves in an intense hail storm in the middle of the summer. It was even snowing on the tops of the nearby mountains. I did not envy the trampers making their way to the prestigious Angelus Hut in the backcountry one bit!
Needless to say, we did not get much hiking in on day one, but lucky for us the weather was clear and beautiful today. I’ll be it, still quite chilly and windy, but that suited me well as it kept the sandflies away. We set off to tackle Mount Robert, and I am very happy to report that we were successful in climbing above the tree line to reach the 1400 meter summit. The view from the top was incredible. We could see all of Lake Rotoriti and the surrounding mountain ranges. The Pinchgut Track leading to Paddy’s Track made for a great loop circuit hike.