Until yesterday, I had never heard of Lake Dispute.
Now that I have caught a glimpse of it from high on a walkway, I am not especially overwhelmed. Not by the lake itself, anyway. The walkway, on the other hand, was a delight.
By way of showing consideration for his elders, he led us on the loop walk, choosing to take the more gradual slope first. I am so pleased he did. He is very fit, and even with a sturdy two-year-old on his back, was striding up the track, and waiting until I appeared, gasping, around the bend behind him.
As we climbed away from the start, we got increasingly better views of snow-covered peaks, of which the nearest and largest was Mt. Crichton. Clumps of cloud drifted around its peak. Birds sang in the surrounding bush, but didn’t show themselves much. I think I caught a bellbird, briefly. Alas, the image was too small to be useful.
At one point, Andrew said “that’s pretty much the end of the climb”. He lied. The track peaked about 500 feet higher. When tackled on this discrepancy, his excuse was that it was a motivational strategy. He lied.
We walked on, over the real high point in the track, and then downhill, coming eventually to a historic stone hut, erected by Bill Summers in the 1930s and used by his son Bill as a home and the base from which he prospected for gold for many years.
A little later, we took a diversion through a narrow tail race, designed to channel the surplus water from a nearby gold sluicing operation. The channel was just a little wider than my shoulders, and went for about 24 wet dripping metres through solid rock 10 metres high. Amazing work considering it was cut by hand.
The downhill bit from there was very steep, and perhaps it was better to have come up the other side.
We got back to Queenstown in time for a truly superb steak lunch at Ivy and Lola’s restaurant on the waterfront beside the Earnslaw.
On the other hand you might look at that bland hillside and ask what’s so remarkable about the Remarkables? Well the picture above is a semi-civilized shoulder of the range. The real mountains look more like this:
Note to self: eat less, walk more.