Gloom and doom settled upon our second shelter on the Routeburn Track, the Lake Mackenzie Hut, overnight. AJ and I woke up in our bunks to dreary skies and a slow, steady drizzle. We were on a time crunch to catch our bus to Milford Sound; breakfast was fast and we hit the track.
The glorious views of Hollyford Valley we were hoping to see were obscured by fog, but the forest was incredibly green and oh so lush. The track continues past Earland Falls, a 174m tall waterfall.
We couldn’t resist the urge to scramble on some rocks, even in pouring rain/waterfall mist and with high chances of slipping and knocking ourselves out.
After frolicking in the falls for nearly an hour, we collected our things and continued to the Howden Hut. Dropping our packs, we wandered inside to dry off and eat the last of our food.
From here, it was less than an hour’s trek to the Divide Shelter and the end of our trip. The weather started to clear up, so AJ and I decided that we’d take the extra time to head up to Key Summit. We’d heard amazing things.
From Howden Hut, the trail ascends steeply for twenty minutes before you reach the split for Key Summit. We tossed our packs off and began the trek up to the summit.
The trail crisscrossed through alpine meadows, offering up views of peaks and cirques and valleys galore. It was absolutely beautiful. Retracing our steps to where we’d placed our packs, we began the short descent to the Divide Shelter and the end of the track to catch our bus.