To the Tarns! (Part 1)

Of the 4 hikes I previously mentioned, two are considered difficult hikes. In that, they are pretty much non-stop stair climbs for an hour or two. So, pretty darn tiring. I opted to do the hike to the Red Tarns after the Hooker Valley hike, partially because I was curious to see a so-called ‘Tarn’, and also because I’d have a hiking partner for this trek, Hanna, from Germany. More on her another time, she’ll pop up again in several days.

Late in the morning we set off to tackle 1200+ stairs (or so a sign said). Memories of Grouse Mountain and injuring my hip did flash in my mind, but I was pretty sure I could handle a good stair climb now without another recurrence.

The day was still sunny and clear when we started the climb around 11am.

About half way up clouds started to cover the peak of Mt. Cook. It gave it a funny looking little cap.

After a solid hour of climbing, we were at the Red Tarns. This is a Red Tarn:

Tarns are high altitude mountain lakes or pools. In this case, these were made red from the plant life found in the tarns themselves.

Even though the path had ended, Hanna suggested we do some more mountain climbing – up to the saddle, to see what we could see.

Half-way up, I took a picture looking back down to the Red Tarns.

And the stunning view at the top of the hike. You could see numerous mountains, the two main glacier valleys (Mueller and Tasman), braided rivers…a wonderful view.

A look towards the nearly cloud covered Mt. Cook and Mt. Sefton.

Towards the Tasman Glacier lake, which I’d visit tomorrow on my 4th and final major hike.

Another panorama.

The clouds were always shifting and changing the colours of the landscape far below. Also, the edge of the tussock grass you see at the very bottom of this picture? I wasn’t getting close to that. It’s a VERY steep cliff all the way to the valley bottom there.

There were Tarns up here as well!

Indeed, quite a few of them! An outstanding, if tiring, hike. I had another Tarn hike planned tomorrow – I was now very much looking forward to what I could see from those.

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