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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Hayden

Gertrude Saddle

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

In the last couple of weeks I've spent a considerable amount of money on hiking gear, with boxing day sales dragging out well into January it was a great opportunity to pick up a few things.

Along with the boots (Which are now a little more forgiving on my heels)

I picked up a new day pack that has a couple of really cool features.

It's been a while since I've been on a day trip and after a week of refreshing weather forecasts I decided on my destination.

The Gertrude Saddle route is between Te Anau and Milford, just before you enter the Homer Tunnel.

I hit the road at 5:30am, it's nearly 4 hours from Cromwell and I knew it was going to be a big day😅

By the time I hit Kingston the weather had changed it's mind🙄

The next hour and a half was angsty but by the time I reached Te Anau things were clearing up. Further down the road at Gertrude Saddle the skies were clear and besides a little morning dew the ground was dry😁

The track began crossing through dormant river beds and a little beech forest, after about half an hour I was at the foot of my climb watching the shadows slowly disappear as I realized I'd forgotten my sunblock🤦🏻‍♂️

Making my way up the rock was fun, I quite enjoy hopping boulder to boulder but be careful around the slippery ones😅

With the water level low, crossing the river posed no problem. I ventured further to find these cables making a few sections of rock a lot easier.

It was about now I began to notice the difference in grip and support my new boots were able to offer.

Atop the cables was Black Lake, the body of water slowly making it's way downhill.

There was only a few hundred metres of rock separating me from the saddle so I pressed on.

The view from Gertrude Saddle was amazing. Mitre Peak in the distance and boaties in the Milford Harbor.

But the thing that I couldn't take my eye off was a lot closer, besides if you're on the saddle you may as well ride the horse🤷🏻‍♂️😅

Further up there were remnants of a track heading to Barrier Knob, a few cairns and some worn ground led me up the rock face towards the white capping just under five hundred metres above the saddle.

Just another summers day spent trying to find snow😂

After about an hour of climbing there was maybe a hundred metres between me and my peak, I assessed the best way to cover this and found some footprints I could kick in further to get me up the slope.

It was a little sketchy but nothing I haven't done before so I figured I could do it again😅

I let out a big Fuuuuuuck yeah as I reached the top, there's that feeling I was looking for🙌

Nothing against the saddle, the track itself was one of my favorites so far but the view from up here trumps where most people call it.

I was pleasantly surprised to see I wasn't the only one setting his sights higher, in the time I spent up here I encountered a few more people.

One of whom was a real mountaineer, his ice axe echoed knocking against the rocks as he made his way over from Marion peak pictured in the center of the above picture.

After talking shop with an older couple for a while I steadily made my way down the snow slope and hopped rocks back to my car.

Thankfully these long summer days meant I'd get home well before nightfall.

Just another day in paradise.

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