This is a staircase from hell. This thing makes the infamous Half Dome steps seem like the bunny hill. I thought I was in pretty good shape but these steps have me sucking wind like a Dyson. To take my mind off my aching lungs and shaking legs I try to count the number of individual stairs in this endless trudge but I lose track somewhere in the two thousands.
The trail description didn’t make it sound bad at all: “Track starts out gently then ascends steeply to the Sealy Tarns. Allow 3 hours return.” A pretty unassuming description. Glib, even. But halfway up the track I was learning my lesson the hard way: in New Zealand, when a trail guide says steep, it means steep.