A Wet Night at Homer Hut – Part 2

“On a Mish” #243 A Wet Night at Homer Hut – Part Two. Fiordland National Park. 20.12.2015. To give you an idea of how wet Fiordland gets, annual rainfall is measured in meters. If you are having trouble talking to the person standing next to you because of the noise of the rain, you must be in Fiordland! Rain so heavy it makes you question how it is possible plants can remain in the area. Mountains covered in the scars of tree avalanches tell the tales of previous storms, and if you’re caught out in the rain I hope you have an escape route, or safe place to sit it out…

It had been falling all night, and at first light it was still coming down like a giant hose on full blast aimed straight at Fiordland. From the small window in the warden’s quarters in Homer Hut I could see we had a problem outside. The usually dry riverbed outside the hut was now a flooded river in full flow. We headed outside to check on conditions, and after crossing the river we discovered a massive puddle of still water at the entrance to the car park. This meant our new French friends were now stuck at Homer Hut. This wasn’t part of the group’s plans, and they weren’t going to let it stop them getting to Mt Aspiring to continue their climbing. We suited up for wet weather, headed outside, and were instantly soaked from the curtain of water pouring off the hut’s roof. The first trip outside was to assess the situation, and the first crossing of the surprise river was challenging. On the other side of the car park was a large puddle, and when I felt the water going up past my waist I knew the dudes in the hut weren’t going anywhere. We splashed our way back to the hut, and our return was met with a cunning plan. The fellas had come up with the idea of getting a flatbed truck from Te Anau and fording the puddle with the cars on the back. Due to the radio being broken our only way to communicate with Te Anau was the phone at the Chapel on the Milford Road. I got my climbing rope out, crossed the river, and secured it to a parked car to assist with crossing the torrent. While all this was going on the rain continued, and each crossing was becoming more difficult as water continued to rise. We eventually got in contact with the towing company and ordered a truck for the cars. By the time we got back to Homer Hut most of the fellas had made it to the car park by using the rope to get across, and then as quick as it had started, the rain stopped. We watched the water begin to drain away, and after about an hour the water had dropped enough for one of the fellas to attempt to get around it to his car. He managed to scrape up against the trees enough to avoid most of the deep puddle, and once around he had proved it was possible to escape the car park. The big fear now was the guys leaving with the tow truck on its way. We didn’t have to worry, as the team waited on the road for the truck to arrive, and were happy to pay the man for the trip out. Little did we know that the same truck and driver would return the next day.

That night we heard the noise of people arriving at the hut. We went out to meet the new people, and collect the hut fees, and as we introduced ourselves we learnt that their rental car was stuck in the middle of the puddle! We also learnt that the fellas didn’t bother with getting insurance. Early-ish the next day we headed back to The Chapel to once again call upon the services of the tow truck, and as we waited in the sun with the poor fella for it to arrive we just couldn’t believe we were in the same place as the day before… well, apart from the big puddle with a car stuck in it!

The difference a few hours of rain makes in Fiordland

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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