James and Evelyn are off doing the Routeburn Track for 48 hours.
We drove them about 80 minutes north and west of Queenstown yesterday, some along unsealed (gravel) road. We sat and ate a picnic lunch, and then Cal, Charlotte, and I joined the through-hikers for a few kilometers before we said goodbye and turned back to the car.
The trail was beautiful and the weather even moreso, with temps in the low 60s (F) and a crisp breeze cutting the warm sunshine.
The drive to Te Anau, 2.5 hours away, was ruggedly beautiful. (And partially broken up by an early dinner stop at McDonalds.)
Finally, we checked into our little lake bach in town.
Overnight I was awakened by the wind, which was blowing a gale-force levels, or at least it sounded like it from inside*. I cast a thought of James and Evelyn, sleeping in a hut out in the wilderness, and hoped that it was secure and not near any large trees. This morning when I woke up, a large shrub in the sideyard and been pulled up by its roots and lay across the driveway. The weather today is much calmer, although there is still a blustery breeze crossing the lake out of fiordland.
Tomorrow the littles and I will drive 80-some kilometers up the Milford Sound road, one of the most beautiful drives in the world, to meet James and Evelyn on the other end of the Routeburn Track. Then we’ll have 13 more days here in sweet little Te Anau.
*The New Zealand Herald reported that the highest wind gust recorded overnight was just a short distance from here at Mid Dome: 193km/hr. That’s 120 miles per hour.