Day 1 was an easy two-hour wander to Routeburn Flats, a lovely river flat where the sandflies weren't too bad (at least compared to the Hollyford) and the views were wonderful. The weather, in an atypical display of sympathy, had cleared to sunny and hot, and the skies got clearer and clearer as the walk went on, which I appreciated as I would have been high enough to be right inside the clouds if the weather had turned.
Day 2 saw the most spectacular landscapes on the way up to the Harris Saddle, home to the beautiful Lake Harris and some of the most inspiring peaks you'll ever see. It's a bit pointless me going on about how impressive the views are, because it's only possible to understand when you've actually been there, but suffice to say that the trek over the saddle would on its own make the Routeburn worth doing, and the short climb up to Conical Hill made me feel as if I was on top of the world.
All this is a very different type of walking to the Hollyford-Pyke; there it was all about river valleys, bush and bog, none of which tend to crop up on alpine tracks like the Routeburn. The differences between the two tracks were instantly apparent from Conical Hill, from where I could see right down the Hollyford Valley to Martins Bay; that was quite a sight, knowing that I'd spent a week or so hacking my way up the valley laid out before me. Skirting back down the western side of the range, I could see Gunn's Camp, the Hollyford Road and all sorts of familiar sights, all brought to life by my previous tramp. It felt a bit like coming home...
That night at Mackenzie Camp was a delight, with especially beautiful views towards Emily Peak as it reflected in Lake Mackenzie. The campsite was a bit pitiful and, as with Routeburn Flats, rather cold and dewy, but at least it kept my milk mixture cold for my morning muesli, and meant that when I woke up, I had absolutely no desire to lie in and freeze in the perishing morning mist. Stalking down towards the Divide on day 3, I made good time to Lake Howden; from here I took a track up to Key Summit, which was home to more great views, especially of Lake Marian, and I also took the time to take in a nature trail. And that marked the end of the Routeburn; now for the Greenstone.