“A Mish a Day” #143 Boyd Creek Tops. Snowdon Forest Conservation Area. 17.3.2017. Just before entering the Eglington Valley on the Milford Road is a small farm track that leads to the start of the Boyd Creek Tops Route. To most people it is just another corner on the Milford Road in their quest to seek out the more famous areas further along the road, but to the lucky few the track offers access to a unique and isolated basin to play in away from the masses.
The track starts like most Fiordland tracks, in the beech forest, walking amongst the Prickly Shield Ferns, listening to the sounds of the native birds in the area. After a nice flat warm up hiking through the forest, I got to the start of the spur which climbs it’s way up a series of giant steps into the upper basin. The glacial terraces are followed, each with their own large level areas, one of which was very boggy, and as I stopped for a quick drink I saw a Red Deer easily powering its way through the bog and into the forest. There was some windfall on the track, so the last section required care to keep on the track, before one last push got me up into the large upper basin to the south of Winton Peak(1771m). The basin is perfect for camping, apart from the small issue of clean water for drinking and cooking. After finding a good camping spot at the south end of the basin, I then went on a quest to find water. My side mission took me to a small spring popping out of the side of the mountain about 500 meters from the campsite. After finding a water source it was back into the forest at the tree-line for firewood, and then camp was complete and it was time to chill.
Early-ish in the morning the peace of the basin was interrupted by the whirl of rotor blades, as a Hughes 500 came zooming into the basin. The area was in and out of cloud, with a mix of full visibility, and then cloud restricting the view to only ten or so meters. As it was ‘The Roar’ there was only one thing the chopper was in the area for, and a couple of shots rang out as I listened to the sound of the machine in the mist. The basin went quiet again for about ten minutes, before I could hear the helicopter blades turning again, and out of the mist came the successful team of hunter and pilot with not one, but two animals under the machine. The morning was spent exploring the area, and climbing to the top of the small mound(Point 1171m) to get a very cool view of Lake Te Anau, and the mountains around it. After the morning side trip, it was back on the track back down to the car park, very surprised about the excellent little hike, hidden in plain sight on the Milford Road.