29 photos, 1 videos
Day two is the first full day of hiking, at about nine miles, following the Clinton River the whole way.
From Ultimate Hikes:
"Cross the suspension bridge over the Clinton River and enter the Beech forest. One mile along is the side of Quintin Mackinnon's first hut built in 1889, and not far ahead is the Wetlands. Leave your pack on the main track and experience an area unique to the walk. The track from here is flat and wide before it climbs as it enters the west branch of the Clinton Valley--the rock walls tower up to 4000 feet above you. Continue through the lush beech forest, crossing a huge landslide from the 80s that blocked the river and created Dead Lake."
By the time we reached our lunch hut, Hirere Falls Shelter, a light rain had begun to fall. We didn't notice it too much in the beech forest, but once into the prairie, we began to get (more than) a little wet. The trade-off was the rapidly increasing number and size of the waterfalls on the cliffs. At one point, it looked as if one area of cliffs was a solid wall of water. A few of us stopped at Prairie Lake; a few of the bravest (not us) jumped in for a swim.
During the latter part of the day, we began to climb a bit towards our second lodge, Pompolona Lodge. As we gathered in the lounge prior to dinner, the rain poured on the glass ceiling above us. Not 15 minutes later, the skies cleared back to bright blue. A few kea appeared on the lodge roof, providing a little dinner-time entertainment as they pecked at the metal roof.