Do you remember the Track from our post about Rob Roy Valley? Well now we indeed went the 333 km around the Alps and are at the Milford end of the track (called the Divide). So after not having the possibility to walk the Routeburn Track, now we can at least walk part of it to get a feeling of what we might have missed.
So the 3 hours return track took us through native forest, alpine tarns, shrub land and bogs. Quite a bit to see. We also met some hikers who were all but at the end of their track along the complete Routeburn Track and close to exhaustion. We met a friendly Swiss guy who recognised my Blind Guardian sweater and outed himself as a fan. Later we met the guy again in the Te Anau supermarket, where he already prepared for his next track. He really fell in love with hiking in New Zealand.
Anyway after a while on the Routeburn Track we followed a sign reading: to Key Summit.
Actually a side track and one of the highlights of the Routeburn Track. Lucky for us we could at least take this experience with us.
When you reach Key Summit, you can easily see why it is a highlight. You feel like standing on the navel of the world. You are surrounded by big mountain chains, all of them guarding another valley in front of them. You can see: Hollyford, Greenstone and Eglington valley from here.
You can see: Humboldt, Darran, Ailsa and Livingstone mountains ranges.
You can see: alpine lakes like the beautiful Lake Marian from afar.
You can see: all major rivers originating somewhere here and passing by through the valleys.
If that is not already cool enough, the nice guys from DOC prepared a little trail around the top of Key Summit which explains the fragile native flora to you. There are little plastic covered sheets at the beginning of the trail and a total of eight little pegs where you can see different aspects and forms of local flora. Bilge Rat and I loved this little explanatory trail finally making us understand through which kind of vegetation we were wandering all the time.
On the way to and from Key Summit we also met a lonesome DOC ranger, who was fixing the track. We thanked him for the great work of the DOC and told him at what an amazing place he was working at.