Conquering Kepler: My first Great Walk and won’t be the last!

 Kepler track was one of the hikes I wanted to do most in New Zealand! The three day 60 kilometer track was one of the most intense but wonderful experiences I have ever had. We got to the track on Friday and began our hike. This was my first overnight hike and I had no idea what to expect. With a pack that weighed probably over 45 pounds it was going to take me a while to get used to carrying it. We got to a beautiful hut right above the tree line in the early afternoon.

 A beautiful rainbow was shining and we luckily has no rain our first day, but found out at the hut that there had been 100 kilometer winds earlier that day across the ridgeline that we wanted to hike tomorrow. This was a total surprise to me! people hadn’t been able to do the alpine crossing because of the winds and we were hoping the winds would calm down the next day for us to be able to confuse. the only thing we could do that afternoon was rest and play cards in the hut, crossing our fingers the winds would calm down!



   

The next morning we found out the weather report at 8:30 and were told winds were only 35 kilometers and the pass was crossable. Us and everyone else in the hut was relieved and excited to continue right away!

Snowy and cold on top of the ridgeline but absolutely amazing!

    

We were surrounded by mountains, on top of a mountain for 16 kilometers. As I looked around and saw this amazing place I was in all I could think of was how spectacular and beautiful the world is. The walk along the alpine section was hard. The winds were strong the air was cold and there was snow. But despite all odds and all weather conditions working against us we completed the 16 kilometers in 4 hours! 

 

Arriving to the next hut in the early afternoon where most people planned on sleeping that night we decided that we would continue on for another 16 kilometers to the third hut. (still being in college and having class on Monday I was consciously trying to avoid skipping as little school as possible). After eating a quick lunch my friends and I packed up our massive packs and proceeded onward! This part of the hike was underneath the tree line. Our goal was to arrive before dark and sure enough we did! Seeing this hut could not have made me any happier. I think sarah and I started hugging each other we were so happy to see our home for the night. And inside the hut a fellow hiker with warm tea welcomed us! In total we hiked for 8 hours that day and sleeping could not have felt better that night!

early morning sunrise

  

  



  

We woke up the next morning to pouring rain. Today was the day we would finish the last 16 kilometers of our hike and I was ready. I had two raincoats on, all my gear packed and was ready. This last part of the hike was the most mentally and physically exhausting final hours I have ever endured. Walking under the tree line along a lake for this distance seemed never ending. As I knew we were getting closer to the end I looked straight ahead and sure enough there was the car park we started at! I had never been so happy in my life! an instant burst of energy and excitement flooded over me and the feeling was real that kepler was almost completed. 
 

The kepler track has a lot of special meaning for me. it was more then a three day hike. In my eyes kepler was a giant mystery book I wanted to solve.I will never forget completing kepler and the emotions and feelings that went along with the hike. It resembles the beauty of new Zealand and the beauty of mother nature. Despite any weather conditions we made it! kepler you’ve left your mark on me forever and always.

 

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