Wow. Like, super wow.

That’s about the best day’s tramping ever.

After yesterday’s big blow, today, no wind. No clouds and that breathtaking view.

Mount Rintoul is the highest point on the Alpine Route at 1761 m and today had the full 360° visibility and views. Over there, down the Wairau valley you can make out Blenheim; beyond there blue sea and something of the North Island, there’s clouds over there; Mt Richmond just a smidgen lower; the Pelorus and waves of hills in the sounds, on until the horizon; the Nelson airport; Abel Tasman and Separation Point; a hint of Farewell Spit, if you know where to look there’re some trees down near the end; Kahurangi, Mt Arthur right around to Mount Owen; down to Rabbit Island, Brightwater, Wakefield; and the next lump to get over, Purple Top; beyond that the Red Hills, for the last couple of days; the Rainbow valley and the St Arnaud Range; and the whole sweep of Marlborough Mountains, including in the foreground, the well-known Patriarch, and over the Wairau they go up to the 2000 m Bounds, and then to the Inland Kaikouras, Tapuae-o-Uenuku prominent, should be at 2885 m, but there’s more snow on the Seaward Kaikouras, ie, there isn’t much you can’t see from up here.

I guess the only thing is it Taranaki which on a clear day, after rain, could be spotted.

There is effort expended in climbing Little Rintoul 1634 m, so that’s 500 m warmup climb, but it’s the 220 m descent down to a saddle, a mixture of loose boulders, scree and everything between that, on a vertigo inducing slope, then you trudge straight back up 350 m to the top of Rintoul proper.

After sometime perusing that astonishing view it’s another almost 500 m drop, more vertigo here, firstly on scree and eventually swinging from pigmy mountain beech trees, you get down in a hurry to the well windowed Rintoul hut, You need those windows, there’s still plenty to see, mostly of the Waimea plain, Abel Tasman direction, all that civilisation spread out more than a kilometre below.

In these conditions you can’t really rush on by, sometimes you can recognise that the world is serving up something very special, tomorrow and the next day I’m mostly below the tree line, ie, spectacular views not often forthcoming, and any other time I come back up here might well be different weather conditions. Make the most of it, I guess this is why I’ve returned to live in Nelson, you just walk out your back door and you get this.

Then, as if reading my thoughts, the sun finally gone down, a band of puffy, cotton wool clouds obscure just the valley, I can see over to Kahurangi, the sky turning peach colour, then a more robust orange, about as perfect day of bloke could wish.

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