Almost too Beautiful – Lake Marian Camp (Part Four)

“On a Mish” #291 Almost too Beautiful (Part Four). Lake Marian. Fiordland National Park. 8.7.2021. Before heading out on my Lake Marian mish, I watched a movie about some fellas climbing Sagarmartha / Mt Everest(8848m), and the mass of people in a huge line on the world’s tallest peak was insane. Queues of climbers clogged up the route, and the scene was the exact opposite of what I think of and experience when I go on a mish. Luckily for me I enjoyed the complete opposite of what I saw during the movie and, apart from my hip throbbing in pain, everything was extremely good, some would say it was ‘Almost Too Perfect’…

Apart from my brief encounter with a very stoked girl at the first viewpoint of the lake, I had spent my day with the many native birds that call the Lake Marian Basin their home. During the night I had heard the distinctive call of the world’s smartest bird and also cheekiest, the mischievous Kea. For those who have hiked with Kea, they will know that the first shreeek of the bird can lead to mischief and destruction. Thankfully they stayed away, and my gear remained undisturbed all night.

I woke early-ish to the sound of light snow tapping the outside of the tent. This got me very excited about what the place was going to look like once the new day had dawned. I peeked out of the tent door to see less snow than I was hoping for, and also there was more drizzle falling than snow. Thick clouds hung low on the mountains, making me very happy that I had had good views when I first arrived the day before.

There was no point in sticking around, so at first light I began to collapse my tent and pack up my gear. While I was packing up there was a brief break in the weather, and for a second it seemed like the mountains might appear out of the mist. But as if to tease me, I only saw the outlines of the ridges before everything vanished into the murky grey mist once again.

Time to leave, and almost as soon as I started walking it began to rain. Feeling sore, tired and a little over the fact that the hike had hurt so much, I didn’t even stop to put my pack cover on. I plodded along the side of the lake heading for the start of the track back down to the car park, knowing I had made the most of the short weather window.

I was happy to see that, even though the weather wasn’t that great, there was still traffic on the track as, a short way down the trail I bumped into a friendly couple. I urged them to stick around at the lake as the view was definitely worth hanging around for, if it did appear again.

A very slow and steady pace got me back down to the easier part of the track at the gantry, and in no time I was back at my car and the mish was over. I threw all of my soaking wet gear inside and then began to warm up both the car and myself before beginning my drive back to Te Anau.

On my journey back home I got to a viewpoint on the Milford Road and could see the mountains further south around the Routeburn Track area, but Lake Marian stayed hidden away behind a barrier of mist. I was rather happy that I got the incredible views that I had enjoyed, and I hoped the people I met up at the lake got at least a little taste of the lake and the delicious Darran Mountains that surround it.

What an adventure! Everything I needed was provided, from mountain views to the remote feeling I crave when on my missions. It is great to be ‘back in the game’ although I know my hip will need a good rest to get back in working order. Still, a sore hip is better than sitting at home doing nothing!

Looking Back Toward the Mountains of the Routeburn Track (Ailsa Range)

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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