Come See the Fiordland Rain (Part Three) – The Milford Track 2013

“On a Mish” #300 Come See the Fiordland Rain (Part Three). The Milford Track – Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge. Clinton Valley / Arthur Valley. Fiordland National Park. 26.2.2013. Fiordland bathed in sunshine is what most see when dreaming, or viewing pictures advertising the unique area in the south of Te Waipounamu. However, Fiordland drowned in a devastating downpour of gigantic proportions is something the lucky few will never ever forget (guaranteed). I really wanted to show my parents what Fiordland can do when it gets angry while I guided them around the world famous Milford Track, but instead the sun came out and I seemed to be the only one disappointed about it…

As height was gained on the zigzags up to MacKinnon Pass(1069m) the size and steepness of the surrounding mountains became more apparent. Steep and deep is the theme of the valleys in this part of the world, and to find a way up and over is near impossible at the heads of many of these giant rock corridors. MacKinnon’s drive must have been incredible for him to force a route up and over the pass that now bears his name.

At the top of the pass we could see every mountain and the Kea also provided a little bit of bonus entertainment. A simple sandwich becomes a fancy delicacy when consumed in such a stunning spot. Lunch with a side of sweet satisfaction went down well and then, once fuller and fresher, it was time to begin our descent into the equally impressive Arthur Valley.

Knees are not overly thrilled with the constant downhill travel, but this is a place where any stop is rewarded with amazing views. From experience I can say that proving a point and getting from lodge to lodge at record speed is only going to waste a chance at viewing one of nature’s most finely crafted masterpieces.

With the track to Sutherland Falls unfortunately removed from the face of the earth by a rockfall we didn’t rush down to the lodge, and stopped at as many points of interest as possible. Luckily for us, a very determined Milford Track legend put his love of stunning sights to work, and now hikers enjoy the Cascades that bear his name on an incredible network of steps mere metres from the waters edge. When (carefully) viewed during a dramatic Fiordland downpour the spray makes for an experience never forgotten. We were looking at the impressive sight with the sun forcing its way through the limited cracks in the beech forest canopy.

That night in the lodge we prepared ourselves for the last day of the hike, and by now the team was really starting to bond over bathing in nothing but sunshine. A walk in the wild can be the start of a friendship you never expected to make and some of those friendships are formed while rain soaked. We (me) had hoped for this and yet after three days our rain jackets still lay at the bottoms of everyone’s packs…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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