Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Aoraki/Mt Cook

Day 56
Mt Cook – Hooker Lake Hike
Time: 4:10:00
Distance: A Long Walk
Terrain: Glacial Moraine
Location: 43 41' 21"S, 170 05' 59.3"E

“I am in these mountains, I am in these stars, I am all around you, always near, not far.”

We spent the day hiking the Hooker Valley, about 15 kilometers from the summit of New Zealand’s highest mountain. It was another clear day and we feel very lucky. Apparently, there is usually only 1 clear day in five. We’ve enjoyed four in a row.
Mt. Cook (3754m) saw its first ascent on Christmas Day in 1894 by three Kiwi climbers. The first woman, Freda de Faur, reached the summit in 1913. The mountain is part of Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park which encompasses over 70,000 hectares of majestic mountains and was named after the famous English explorer James Cook. The Maori name for the mountain, Aoraki, translates to “Cloud Piercer”.
We felt at home amongst the mountains. The relief was quite dramatic and reminded us of the Andes of Peru. Mt. Sefton dominates the lower end of the valley and holds several glaciers in various stages of recession. More than once we heard ice calving off and thundering into the valley below. It’s hard not to believe in global warming after visiting a place like this. Most of the day our eyes gazed toward Mt. Cook and our minds imagined how it would be to climb to the top.
The quote above was printed on a plaque on the Alpine Memorial at the base of the valley. The monument was erected to commemorate those who have perished while exploring the mountains.
Climb safe,

1 comment:

Jean said...

You have no idea how grateful I am for the quote you posted from the Alpine Memorial. I've been regretting since I came back from NZ several years ago for not writing down the exact words. It touched me so much and I've tried many times to google it but no luck. Today must be my lucky day! Thank you!!!!!