Sealy Tarns, Mt. Sefton, and Mt. Cook, Aoraki National Park, South Island, New Zealand

Taken from the Sealy Tarns in Mt. Cook / Aoraki National Park, New Zealand on April 26th, 2012

The trail description didn’t make it sound bad at all: “Track starts out gently then ascends steeply to the Sealy Tarns.” A pretty unassuming description. Glib, even. But I learned my lesson the hard way: in New Zealand, when a trail guide says steep, it means steep. In truth it was a staircase from hell. To take my mind off my aching lungs and shaking legs I tried to count the number of individual stairs in the climb but I lost track somewhere in the two thousands. When I finally reached the top and saw this magnificent view at sunset, that endless trudge seemed like a small price to pay to witness the splendor of the Southern Alps.

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