Birthday Dinner in the Darrans (Part Four) – Gulliver River / Milford Road

“On a Mish” #282 Birthday Dinner in the Darrans (Part Four). Gulliver River / Milford Road. Fiordland National Park. 9.6.2021. Recent birthdays have taught me how powerful a night in nature can be. As I have kicked back and relaxed I have had the time to reflect on my adventures. I have been pretty lucky to have been able to spend a lot of time outdoors hiking, camping and climbing, and how beneficial that has been to me. As the years have gone by my experience has grown and as another year went by I was up the Gulliver River enjoying a birthday dinner in the Darran Mountains…

My rest with a view was enough to inspire me into action. I got my tent out and battled the growing swarm of sandflies as I pitched it. I was reassured by the fact that my birthday is during the months of winter, and this meant cool nights and cool nights meant no sandflies! I just had to survive until the cold set in.

Ominous Clouds Signaling a Change in the Weather

Watching the evening turn into night while in Fiordland is a real treat and there wouldn’t be many presents that could top it. Shades of orange and pink in the sky were temporarily the backdrop to the dark grey and bright white of the Darran Mountains. The world around me was painting a picture and I was the only one witnessing the masterpiece. With the evening came the cold, and after one last look around at awesomeness I retreated to the warmth of my sleeping bag.

Early-ish the next day I was up before the sun due to a rather restless night. The hike might not have been very far but it felt like I had been on the move for weeks. I dragged myself away from the warmth of my sleeping bag and began to boil the billy for an early morning brew. After a coffee I was much more alert and I could begin to pack away my very damp tent.

The hike out was similar to the hike in, but now I was much more aware of the track and the damage around it. The downed trees were just the same annoyance as they were on the way in, but I treated it like a person who had a big night and headed off to work the next day. You just have to push on through it!

The sights are really what got me up and over all of the obstacles placed on the track. Eventually and a little worse for wear I got back to the Milford Road and my car. My birthday mish was nearly over, I just had to drive back home to Te Anau.

I had been given the gift of a night in the mountains and it couldn’t have gone any better. There was the challenge of a change of plans, and then there was the battle to get me to plan b. I know it probably wasn’t what most doctors would recommend I do, however the wonder work the wilderness does to your soul was what willed an idea into action. I had enjoyed a birthday dinner in the Darrans and it was so good that I know for sure that putting up with the pain was well worth it!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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