Coming back to a favourite tramping destination can be like watching the nth re-run of a favourite movie. There is comfort in knowing what you get. At the same time the story lacks suspense and you soon find yourself bored. Luckily winter can help put a new spin on a familiar trip.

The Lewis Tops are a quick drive from Christchurch and easily reached from Lewis Pass. After a short push through the forest of despair you find yourself cruising along a grassy ridge with stunning views in all directions. Brennan and I have visited the Tops a few times. They are a convenient antidote to civilization but the novelty had started to wear off. Luckily heavy snowfalls had helped to change the terrain almost beyond recognition on our last trip there. As soon as we stepped on solid ice we felt like on an expedition into unknown lands. Never mind that we were still on a track at a meagre 1500m in elevation.

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