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Walking with Edmund at 760 metres

Once a humble beekeeper, Sir Edmund Hillary came to know this mountain very well. For it was here that he would hone his mountaineering skills to become the first man, along with Tensing Norgay Sherpa, ever to reach the summit of the tallest peak in the world – Mt Everest.

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Hillary was certainly an imposing figure, even in Bronze. The man was apparently very tall, and perhaps this is what gave him an edge over other mountaineers, when climbing with cramp-irons on his feet up vertical ice cliffs?

His statue stands at the Hermitage Hotel at Mt Cook, New Zealand, a place that came to be his second home. Known as Aoraki in the Maori tongue, I stopped here en route to Queenstown and took a walk around the Mt Cook vicinity.

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Yes, I was mad enough to go to the South Island of New Zealand in the middle of winter!

Mt Cook is in the South Island of New Zealand and a stunning place of phenomenal beauty, yet a very unforgiving place.

There was a patch of blue sky in the far distance, which looked promising for my walk, but at this altitude, the weather can change exceedingly quickly so there was no guarantees.

So my walk entailed being extremely careful when I stepped, not wanting to fall on the ice like I did, once, in Norway. That little trick rendered me unable to walk properly for weeks.

Ouch!

The flora around the Hermitage area is very much alpine heath, struggling to survive in a harsh environment, although there are also sheep grazing here. The finest merino wool in the world, is in fact, grown a few kilometres away, at Mt Cook Station.

The sheep seem to have right of way here, at one point we had to ‘split the mob’ to get through.

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The finest fleece – Mt Cook’s Flock

In the area around Mt Cook, you can also see the most delightful blue snow/glacial fed lakes, like this one which form part of the hydro and irrigation scheme.

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We had to walk back very quickly to the Hermitage, as the weather was closing in, fast.

Lunch was a quick bite in the hotel restaurant and whether it was due to the intense cold, I am not sure, but it tasted really delicious. And prices were very reasonable. They do have a monopoly as it is the only place to eat, for miles and miles, But oh! I would pay a lot more for such a meal when one can take advantage of that very special view.

We ate in front of these magnificent full length glass windows at the hotel admiring the view. You can also get an idea in the reflection of the windows….

There was then only a little time for my daughter to throw around some snowballs and slide up and down the slopes on a toboggan, which the lady at the hotel reception said we could use free of charge.

She was so kind, and it seemed that her manner was from a bygone era, when you do things for free, with no expectation of returning the favour.

(Great New Zealand hospitality!)

It is claimed by some, that New Zealand is a rather conservative place and that they are still a bit stuck in the past at the end of the world. Well if that is the case, it is not a bad way to be, is it?

And certainly not a bad place to be stuck, either.

All too soon, it was time to leave and I was left with the memory of these wild and extreme walks, I took, at Mt Cook.

Linking to Jo’s Monday Walk

Jo’s walk this week is to Carding Hill Valley

Footnote: Up to 1953, seven separate climbing expeditions had thus failed to reach the summit of Everest, but on May 29th, Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a native Nepalese climber who had participated in five previous Everest trips, were the only members of the party able to make the final assault on the summit. At 11:30 in the morning, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit, 29,028 feet above sea level, the highest spot on earth. As remarkable as the feat of reaching the summit was the treacherous climb back down the peak.Throughout the rest of his life, he worked tirelessly on humanitarian and fund raising projects, building schools, health clinics, and many aid projects for his beloved country of Nepal, (a country dear to my heart), until his death from heart failure in 2008.

49 thoughts on “Walking with Edmund at 760 metres”

      1. I never have, one of those places I’d love to visit some day, but since we got our dog 5 years ago we just holiday in England, we want to spend time with him when we’re off, so go places we can take him to.

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    1. I am glad you get that feeling from the photos. The environment was starkly beautiful and forbidding but incredibly powerful also. Perhaps you don’t like winter but it does have its charm. You could always escape it by travelling down under to three North of Australia or Spain perhaps?

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      1. Oh no way, don’t get me wrong. I am winter’s girl. I appreciated the stark beauty of the landscape. Everything about winter sends my heart humming with pleasure. Hot chocolate, long shiver-y walks, mulled wine, Christmas markets…

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        1. Okay! There we are like minded! I too love the hot chocolate, mulled wine, being cosy and rugged up yet feeling the cold fresh air on one’s face! I am glad you feel the same as me!! Only I suspect you see more of that weather than I do. I have to travel far to get my dose of winter!!!

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          1. I moved this year to the States and hear that the winters are intense on the East Coast, so I am definitely looking forward to it. I shall however miss Europe this winter! Your summer starts soon, I believe. But if winter was long and weary, I would say work the change 🙂 xx

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            1. Winter here is like a Norwegian summer except colder at night. Rather pleasant, and the only summer I really like. Our real summertime here is oppressive, and humid, drippy wet and so difficult to tolerate, (at least for me) and it lasts for five months!!! Some love it, but not me.

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              1. Well imagine taking a shower and heading out. Then needing another shower in a matter of five minutes. That’s all 🙂 I was born in a desert city however so I do not know why I am not a lover of the heat.

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  1. Growing up in Christchurch those snow covered mountains look all to familiar. We could see the snow on the peaks from where we lived, and used to go up to the mountains once a year. My siblings loved those trips and would drag their toboggans up the snow covered hills to zoom back down. I would sit in the car – freezing! Having moved away more than 40 years ago, I think I’d probably appreciate more now. Perhaps I should put a return early spring trip on my ‘list’ – maybe it’s time….

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    1. I definitely think so, and Christchurch can also benefit from the $$$ tourists bring to the city. It may not be the same as when you were there, but they are trying to re-build it. And the mountains, oh… well Lake Tekapo is a treat anytime!!!

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    1. Neither do I know too much about climbing. But I wondered if the height did give you the chance to gain a foothold that others could not reach. He has done some amazing climbs that in his day, others could not manage. But, someone else might know more about mountaineering, and could advise.

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      1. Thank you for your patience regarding the phone. I had just closed the laptop for the night and had one last glimpse at the phone- you know how it is! Becomes compulsive sometimes 🙂 🙂

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  2. What a beautiful post, Amanda. Lovely photos! I might have changed my mind about winter since last year – I really enjoyed the winter here last year and my trip to Slovakian mountains and Prague with its lovely Chrsitmas markets.. and then Svalbard. Yes, winter is definitely charming in its own way! I have heard that New Zealand might be the most beautiful place on Earth. Do you think that’s the case since you’ve been to places? 🙂 I love the photos of the flock of sheep – they look like neatly arranged stones on first glance. I hope you’re enjoying the Australian winter – or is it spring already? I am looking forward to colorful autumn here and keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll have some sunny days this autumn unlike last year..

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    1. Thank you Pooja. You made such a lovely comment. Regarding asking about New Zealand being the most beautiful place on earth , I would have to say that it certainly is very beautiful and very scenic, however Norway is much more scenic, grandiose and more beautiful than New Zealand. Although there are lots of similarities. I can thoroughly recommend the West Coast of Norway as most beautiful place on earth that I have been. I can also say that I’m glad to hear that you have discovered a new found love of winter. The winter here in Australia is something you would also like particularly in the north. Whilst the nights are reaonably cold the days are very pleasant and more like a Danish /Norwegian early summerday. I would say that spring is here in my region now, as the days are starting to warm up. By lunchtime it’s can be up to 27 degrees Celsius already, yet the nights are still cold: below 10 degrees. Once we get to mid August the winter really disappears and we have clear fine sunny days until November. I look forward to seeing some posts of the pretty Autumn leaves, particularly as we really don’t have any Autumn here at all.

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      1. Your reply made me even more curious about Norway, Amanda. I will look more into the West Coast of Norway. This morning, I just noticed a tree with orange leaves so we’re definitely in for autumn soon. I hope I will do few blog posts with photos this autumn, as it’s actually my favorite season. Where exactly do you live in Australia, Amanda? I’d terribly miss autumn if it wasn’t there where I lived (eg. Kathmandu).

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        1. If you want some recommendations on Norway, Pooja. I am happy to help. I have already posted a little on Trondheim, Trollstigen and Røros. Just search for Norway in the search box.
          I am in the state capital, Brisbane so we don’t really have any Autumn. It’s too sub tropical for deciduous trees. Down south its quite different and colder in winter, so you ‘ll see more colour in the leaves. I think it’s been a very long time since I saw a true Autumn with falling leaves.

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          1. Oh it’s somewhere in central east coast as I see 🙂 You’d love the autumn here I think, Amanda. It’s really vibrant. I love it when it’s sunny during autumn (not very common). I will definitely search for your Norway blog posts! What an extraordinary country it is.

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            1. Yes I live on the eastern seaboard as most Australians do. It’s gets drier and drier as you go inland. The fjords in Norway are like no other place on earth. It is not cheap to visit but it is worth it!

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