Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This is IT

Greetings from Queestown.  Ground zero down under for adrenaline junkies, outdoor enthusiasts, wine lovers and adventure seekers of all sorts.  I have so much to say about trail running in Queenstown, words could just as easily fall from my mouth like drool from a baby.  After several pre-sunrise pavement pounding miles during my visit in Auckland, on New Zealand’s north island, things changed immediately upon my arrival in Queenstown four days ago.  The trail offerings here and the surrounding scenery is, in a word, stunning.  As a consequence my priorties have shifted to getting out on the trails as much as possible with whatever time I have available and as much as my body will allow.  I’ve been out on the trails each day and will head out again this afternoon for seconds after this morning’s mouth watering helping.  Tomorrow’s long run (5 hours or so) will in part take me from the valley floor of Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, straight up about 5,500 vertical feet to peak of Ben Lomond.  I’ll then traverse on to other local peaks, canyons, high mountain lakes and ridgelines before, finally, descending back into the cosmopolitan, European-esque town of Queenstown for, hopefully, tasty local beer and a pizza.
Better still, it is early Fall in Queenstown; the weather is perfect.  And not too cold for shirtless afternoon ridgeline running.  Check out the coloring maple in the photo below I snapped strolling through town this morning on my way to the coffee shop where I penned this post.  The Remarkables range loom in the immediate distance.

Yesterday’s run was an experience unlike any other.  I rented a car and drove northwest from Queenstown to the famed Routeburn Track.  Kiwis (New Zealanders) call trails “tracks”.  I was in awe the entire run.  The track is a point-to-point 24 mile single track trail crossing of the south island divide- of which, sadly, I only ran 20 miles due to time and logistic constraints.  The Routeburn Track is the best trail I have ever experienced- bar none- running or hiking.  I’ll take the Pepsi challenge with anyone who wishes to dispute this track as anything less than superior to any single (short distance) trail in the United States.  Sounds profound, eh?  It's true.  Check out these pictures for a small taste if you don’t believe me.

The views continue sweeping having crossed west over the divide.


  1. Awesome. Kepler and Milford are just as good (better?) and longer. The whole South Island is a trail runner's paradise! Have fun.

  2. Jon- If Kepler and Milford are better than I am definitely coming back to Queenstown. In fact, I am fairly positive I am coming back anyway. And ONLY to the South Island. This place is the jam. If any other town in the US offered anything close to Queenstown, in terms of lifestyle and accesibility, then it would be THE place.

    Mike/Jeremy- don't take my word for it. Hopefully you will see it for yourself some time.

  3. Yeah, Milford is the most beautiful place I have ever been. Hands down.

  4. Looks like you thoroughly enjoyed your trip! Let us know when you make it out this way.