Last summer I got the chance to take Bob and his friends on a 2 day heli hike off Cecil Peak to the Lochy river and out to Lake Wakatipu. An incredible hike taking in the high country and open tussock country through Beech forest, staying at Killacrankie Hut and then heading out to Cecil Peak Homestead. A fabulous route, made even more memorable when Bob insists on going barefoot. To be fair he has been barefoot for a few years and is quite light on his feet. Feeling like we might be missing out on something we all threw the shoes in the pack and gingerly made our way down the ridge.
Bob might be on to something, we really enjoyed the fantastic connection you get with the land, which was surprisingly soft. A bed of moss, grass, smooth schist rock and tussocks was a delight to sample with your bare feet and progress was going well. After a few hours your kind of committed to the adventure and that was that, we found ourselves descending 3000 ft down the side of the mountain to our cosy overnight hut. Admittedly we all had slightly tender feet, but a few cold beers can wash away a lot of pain and we had a great night around the bonfire.
The next morning we new we had 25kms, starting with a few rivers crossings, so going shoe less seemed like the right thing to do again. Before you know it we’re half way along and wandering through beech forest with a super soft bed of leaves. The cooling river crossings soothed the feet and we kept the humour level pretty high in the hope of distracting us from the increasing discomfort in our weary feet. It was with much delight that we came across the awaiting Range Rover and a quick drive to our hosts spare house.
Its not for everyone but for a short while its incredibly rewarding and Id recommend it to everyone. It opens up another sensory aspect to your already fantastic heli hike. Thanks Bob, hope we get to do it again.