Posted by: Talie Morrison | December 29, 2008

Lake Manowai and Green Lake

So somewhere in my “operating instructions” did it say that I was supposed to start a new season “slowly”?   Oops… I guess someone must have torn that page out of my book!   Seems like I took a simple 1 or 2 night trip into a place called Green Lake and turned it into a 5 day extravaganza!   Does that sound a bit like my “MO”?  


(Camping at Lake Manowai before the hike)


My plan was to make a loop out of 4 huts rather than a hike “in and out” the same way –  And of course there wasn’t a “route” between a couple of those huts…. Hum…   So on the 24th I backpacked into the Rogers Inlet Huts which are part of Lake Manowai – which is a bit past Manapouri (for those of you who know New Zealand)  It was a 6 hour hike and, other than some pretty muddy and boggy spots, was a typical fiordlands route – beautiful green forest – fiddle head ferns, lots of moss, and singing birds. 



From Rogers Inlet, I wanted to go over the tops to the Lake Manowai hut (that’s the part that didn’t have a track for it) – but the next day (which was Christmas) it was pretty socked on the tops, so I just did a day hike waiting for the weather to clear.   I did get a visit from 3 Kiwi Kayakers who came by for lunch and shared their Christmas Cake with me. 

img_0770  The day after Christmas (that’s Boxing Day down here), I headed up to the tops.   And up, And up, And up,  good grief when is this trail going to STOP GOING UP!   You might remember that Kiwi Land down here does not know what a switchback is!   Well I finally made it to the top – after six hours of blood sweat and tears!  

img_0808And it was beautiful on the top!  I do love being on the “tops” – you can see forever, and it is worth the hard work getting there!   But now comes the decision….   It’s 3 pm – the weather looks “iffy” (even though the weather man predicted it would clear off today – it hasn’t yet) – I’m tired – and I am heading off down some steep terrain without a trail.  


(I would have gone over the peak above the lake and dropped down on the other side)

Hum-m-m-m.  To go or not to go – that is the question!  One way (going on) I will be beating myself up physically (possibly hurting myself): the other way (going back) I will be beating myself up mentally!!  It is really hard to turn back when it has been blood, sweat and tears for 6 hours getting here!   But going off into the unknown at this point does not seem to be a very wise move….   Ok – soI wienied out.   As we say in Crested Butte “wienie out today so you can wienie out another day”.   Back down the way I came up – I’ve been lugging my full pack for 11 hours and I am right where I started.   Aarguh!  (Big time- aarguh!)   Oh, well – it’s all a learning experience….yeah, right!    So day 4, I actually head up to Green Lake – hey wait wasn’t that my original destination anyway?   But that means 5 hours out from Rogers Inlet and another 6.5 hours into Green Lake.   I think that adds up to 11.5 hours of carrying my pack.   Are we making this a habit of long hours???  My 3 nights at Rogers Inlet, I had a wee-hut (2 bunks) all to myself – at Green Lake it was a nice new 12 person hut, with 26 people in it – and another 10 camping outside. 


 It was rather full to say the least!   But very fun none the less….  It is great to see the New Zealand families out tramping for the holidays.   I ended up sleeping on the floor – but I got a chance to “show off” my homemade cooking system with the alcohol can stove, and pot stand (thanks again, Peter!) and the ladies wanted to inspect my homemade sleeping bag!  I connected with a couple from France who are working at a Landcare Research Institute in Lincoln, New Zealand – so I hope to visit them when I am backat Myles and Margaret’s again.    

And now I am back in my favorite town of TeAnau – and yes that’s a lamb roast dinner and NZ beer!   Yum!   Life is good!





  1. hi talie!
    wow! what an adventure! i am so glad you doubled back. what beautiful photos!

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