So here we are on the top of Mt. Luxmore, thousands of feet above the surrounding valleys and lakes and forests. Starbucks Via instant coffee does its miraculous, medicinal thing, and we're off.
You should take a minute to read my trailbuddy's blog. Inevitably when you go hiking with someone and sleep in a stupid 6' x 3' nylon bag night after night, you want to pretend that no one will know if you kill them and leave them somewhere along the trail. Coop didn't do that to me, and I really appreciate it. He was probably too busy taking great pictures to kill me, anyway. That must be it.
The wind up at the top of the mountain is incredible. It seems to come from all directions at once, like you are imploding in slow motion, and then all of a sudden it changes. The hut warden told tales of smaller trampers being lifted off of the ground by the gales. This sounded fun to me until Coop pointed out that while flying is fun, landing remains an issue. True. I regretted not bringing more trail mix.
The trail led away from the deeeeee-Luxmore hut on into the Kepler mountains. We did a fair bit of hiking on trails cut across the side of the mountain, but in some places it took us right along the ridge, offering deep valley views on either side. I loved the crops of exposed rock we passed by on the top.
After a ways we came to the last lookout on the peaks and began the decent. Like I said before, the forest on this western side was more dense and had more ferns and lush moss and undergrowth. We began to see the head waters of some rivers we would cross in their fuller version later. The Department of Conservation does a pretty awesome job of providing bridges that make the trail doable, but still really wild. Check out Coop strolling along about 50 metres up in the air here:
At the bottom, we reached our campsite and set up the tent. Having some time to chill out and explore the Iris Burn area was a boon. The waterfall out a ways in the forest was a nice place to hang out.
We saw a ghost here later that night, and Coop even got a picture! But he deleted it to make room for the running video commentary he was making, which I hope he shares on trailblog.