Almost too Beautiful (Part Two) – Lake Marian Camp

“On a Mish” #291 Almost too Beautiful (Part Two). Lake Marian. Fiordland National Park. 7.7.2021. I think it is important to have things to occupy your mind during the boring parts of life. For some it is the thought of a pina colada on a beach, for others it is the buzz of playing your favourite sport. And for anyone like me, it is thoughts of camping / climbing / hiking in an epic location…

For me personally, it is hard to match the epicness of Fiordland National Park, and the draw of this, New Zealand’s largest National Park led me to buying a house in the town next door, Te Anau. It only took me an hour to get from my front door to the start of the Lake Marian Track, once again reality showed me buying a house in Te Anau was a bloody good idea!

The track up to Lake Marian was about the same distance as my last camping mission to the Gulliver River, apart from the fact that most of the track is uphill travel. The track sign just past the gantry (a must do, and only 20 minutes there and back) states steady uphill travel with rough sections underfoot. Business time Marky.

I found the going easy at first, but after the first uphill grunt I knew I was in for a challenge. The track is in really good shape considering it gets smashed by Fiordland storms on a regular basis, and I covered ground a lot quicker than my hike on the very rough Gulliver River track. Steep 4wd sections (using hands and feet at the same time) put strain on my hip, but knowing the view waiting for me kept me going.

At one point I was scrambling up a steep part of the track, and the tree root I was holding onto broke and for a second, time seemed to stop. I knew with the weight of my pack I was going to fall backwards, and the experience played out in slow motion. As I began to fall back I desperately reached for something to grab to break my fall and just got a hold of another tree root. Having grip with only one hand meant momentum swung me sideways and I came crashing down on my pack and arm. Luckily it wasn’t my bad hip side, but the fall opened up a few wounds on my hand. It wouldn’t be an NzHikes Mish mission without a bit of drama, so with blood starting to drip down my fingers I continued on and was much more cautious for the remainder of my hike.

I passed a couple from Australia, one car at the carpark. Then as I got to the lake I came across the driver of the other car. She was totally mesmerised by the beauty of the area (just like me!), and as soon as I looked I was too. It was as if the place was ‘Almost Too Beautiful’. I love seeing people lose their minds over the beauty of Fiordland, something I am very lucky to experience often when working as a guide.

I kept on going so she could enjoy the place to herself again, and continued on in search of a campsite on the west side of the lake. I knew the bluffs on Mt Christina(2474m) and Mt Crosscut(2263m) at the top of the lake are prone to avalanche during winter, so I found a spot halfway along the lake away from the bluffs. And what a spot it was! The pain in my hip had to take a backseat to the incredible location I had got myself too. It was time to finally pitch my tent in a place I had dreamed about for a long time…

Lake Marian Looking Stunning with the mighty Darran Mountains as Her Backdrop

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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