After dropping our intrepid walkers at the start of their rain-soaking three day walk of the Routeburn Track, we decided to have a walk of our own before setting out on the journey to Te Anau. At the end of a small gravel road near the Routeburn Shelter there is a swing bridge that marks the entrance to the Sylvan Lakes Track. The rain was steady, but light as we set out across the bridge. Already swollen from the overnight rain, the river below the bridge heaved its way over boulders in the river bed in a tumultuous journey towards Lake Wkakatipu.
As we entered the rain forest the rain began to get heavier. The ground underfoot was already soaked with water and the track had become an endless series of puddles connected by islands of slightly higher ground. It was no use trying to keep your boots dry – may as well splash on regardless.
A walk in a rain forest, in the rain, is magical. Overhead the green canopy glistens and the moss on the ground is almost luminescent against the fallen and decaying leaves on the forest floor. Wetness turns the tree trunks almost black, speckled with green lichens clinging to their bark.
Scattered across the forest floor are branches that have fallen as a result of past storms, now decaying and acting as host to more lichens and mosses.
Thunder was starting to clap overhead and the rain became even heavier. Camera gear was getting wet. The temperature was dropping. It was time to retreat and head back to Glenorchy and a nice cup of hot coffee and a bite to eat.
(Click on images for a larger view.)