After we woke up to the sound of birdsong in the bush around our St. Arnaud bach, James made us a hot breakfast–scrambled eggs and crumpets with grapes–and then we packed up the car for a day of hiking (Evelyn even made the PB&Js). Around 9:45am we headed to the visitors’ center to doublecheck the information for the trail. It was only a 15 minute drive up to the car park for Mount Robert.
When we got out of the car there were a bunch of bees that intermittently buzzed around us, Charlotte freaking out the whole time.
Otherwise conditions were good: clear skies with just light white beautiful clouds, cool temperatures, light wind.
At 10:30am we hit the Pinchgut Trail, which took us up from the car park up to the summit, mostly fully exposed to the sun and breeze. James used one of his walking sticks and Charlotte and Calvin alternated using the other one.
Cal had an amazingly positive attitude, as did Evelyn. Charlotte (it always has to be one!) got gripey and whiney at a several points. “How much longer will it be…? what time is it?… I’m tired…”
Just before noon we climbed above the bushline and it suddenly got very, very windy.
As we turned yet another corner to continue ascending, Calvin asked, “What? Why are we climbing even higher?!”
It actually only took us until 12:10pm to reach the peak at 1421 metres! Previous climbers had built a cairn at the top, with a big stick in it marking the summit. We could see miles in every direction, including all the way to the Tasman Sea to the north. It was so, so beautiful!!
After a few minutes looking around and taking pictures, we walked along the ridge line to a small shelter to get out of the wind, and there we ate our lunches.
From the shelter we hiked along Paddy’s Track, which took us around the other side of the mountain. The scenery–mountains in every direction, deep blue lake water, vivid blue sky–was some of the most beautiful we’ve seen during our time in New Zealand.
The kids were such troopers! Never once did one of them sit/lay down (ahem, Calvin…) saying they can’t go on any longer. Amazing.
We arrived at our car at 3pm; the kids and I were tired but we all felt quite accomplished.
DOC said the trail we did was 10km and should take 5 hours even. We finished in 4.5 hours (that includes a 20 minute stop for lunch). James and I were both so proud of our little hikers, and it really encouraged me that we are all up for our 3 day hike in Abel Tasman later this week!