Going to a Remote Place (Part Two) – Tent Flat (Part Two)

“On a Mish” #27 Going to a Remote Place (Part Two). Hollyford River to mid Moraine Creek. Fiordland National Park. 2.12.2009. There is definitely a strange sort of confidence needed when going out into a wild environment. In theory you will simply visit and return with barely a blade of grass disturbed, but if things go wrong in the wild world the word remote becomes much more real. I have learnt to not only love the mighty Darran Mountains and Fiordland National Park. I have also learnt to respect them for the truly wild and remote places they are, but back in 2009 I was only just getting started…

We shouldered our packs and crossed the Hollyford River on a big swing bridge that gave the appearance the track would be as maintained as the Routeburn Track which we all worked on. Very quickly this idea was dashed. Mud and roots with a dash of track were followed until we came to a walkwire over Moraine Creek. I had crossed over smaller swing bridges so didn’t think much about this one until I was about a third of the way across. For those who haven’t crossed a walkwire, just picture three wires in a triangle, two above one below, and that’s it. A simple bridge that does the job – all you have to do is keep telling your brain this as you creep across looking at the boulders and bubbling river below.

After the bridge the climb into the valley began, and once the sound of the river disappeared we began to hear the sounds of the birds who call this place home. As nice as their song was, we needed to keep our eyes on the track markers as in places the odd one had been knocked off. And this was a place where ten metres and ten miles off the track were basically the same thing!

In places the track steepened dramatically, and one particular point had one of the team questioning how we would get back down – and no one answered. Blind confidence told me that was the future’s problem and we had Tent Flat to get to.

Glaciation had carved the valley into a series of giant steps and with each up we thought we had done the final climb to the final flat. Getting there was starting to become a lot harder than first expected, but luckily our bond as guides was strong enough to keep the banter going almost at the speed our legs were travelling. We could tell that we must have been close to the huge open area known as Tent Flat, but what we didn’t know is that most of the area is a wetland with a slightly misleading name…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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