A schlep to NZ’s southernmost glacier [Part B]

Our route from the Princess Mountains towards Caroline Peak looked very inviting. It was park-like; tussock leads meandered through open forest. It reminded us of the gentler parts of the Tasmanian Central Plateau.

Time for some relaxation among the tussocks.

Caroline Peak has a reputation for attracting a cap of cloud. We sat at our campsite at the head of an unnamed tributary of Caroline Burn waiting for it to clear.

And it did! So rather than settling into dinner, we headed off for the peak. Some lovely alpine gardens were interspersed amongst rock scree.

And our kea companions appreciated this view of Lake Hauroko.

But the cloud returned when we were 10m or so below the summit.

The glacier is a sad wasted remnant. It won’t survive many summers like this one.

We couldn’t see a lot. However, a kea joined us at the summit, emitting what sounded like cries of joy as it played in the updrafts. That lifted our spirits!

Those spirits declined the next day on our descent into the schlep across the northern face of Caroline Peak. We threaded through bluffs and crossed many steep guts. At least we were going downhill – when we weren’t going uphill to avoid obstacles! This fledgling fantail must have wondered what the hell we were doing there.

Eventually we reached the junction of the north and south branches of Unknown Burn. Moirs Guide South has little to say about either branch – and none of it good.

The Guide does promise “good deer trails” over “about an hour” for the final section to Lake Hauroko. Try as might, we didn’t find them. Two or so hours later we reached the lakeshore: our final campsite for the trip.

Everything seemed very dry; still there are spots of beauty in the forest.

The next morning Johann picked us up on his return trip from dropping off Dusky Track walkers.

Caroline Peak from Lake Hauroko. Taken in November 2017, the last time Johann picked us up.

End of Part B. Posted 30 January 2018.