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

“On a Mish” #300 Come See the Fiordland Rain (Part Two). The Milford Track – Glade House to Pompolona Lodge. Clinton Valley. Fiordland National Park. 25.2.2013. The physical benefits of hiking are an added bonus to what is already an awesome activity, but sometimes the weather can completely change the experience. A track in rain can be completely different in the dry, and in a place of great rain like Fiordland the on track escapades can make it feel like you aren’t on the same stretch of trail. The sky above the Milford Track will always play a part in your hike and for some the sun can come out and ruin the whole mish…

Day one on the Milford Track involves very little hiking. The quick walk from Glade Wharf to Glade House is over in a flash, and then wonder of the mini hike up to the Glade Burn makes it seem as though it was just a daydream while you enjoy your first meal on the track at Glade House (lodge). The ‘real’ adventure begins the next day as there is some ground to cover before you get to your next meal at Pompolona Lodge. It is on day two that you get a chance to see how your fitness will hold out when climbing up and over MacKinnon Pass.

A valuable tip when preparing yourself for a multi-day hike is to train with your pack on, and add a little weight so you can get used to it. After learning I would be taking up a role as a guide on the Routeburn Track I would go for hikes with my parents to get my fitness up. Not only would they be company while training, but they would also by default be my first clients to guide. On one particular trip my father decided to add a rock or two to my pack when I wasn’t looking. It took me ages to notice, and once I did we (not me) had a good laugh about the unexpected training I had just done. Now six years later, I was guiding my parents on the Milford Track and I saw my father’s bag unattended.

The Clinton River

After our detour out into the openness found on the wetlands track, we continued (some with a little extra weight) up the Clinton Valley on our way to Pompalona Lodge. Any sign of the morning cloud was long gone, and the day was sunny with barely a breath of wind. Considering my folks were here to see the Fiordland rain, this glorious day wasn’t going to plan. To my surprise I was the only one upset about the lack of rain.

The tranquil see-through greenish waters of the Clinton River made for good trout spotting, and the fish in this area are monsters. By chance we bumped into a friend of my parents who was working as a fishing guide. We joked about him getting us a fish for dinner and he told us to wait a minute. This just seemed like the normal thing a fishing guide would say as a joke. However, within a few minutes he had a big fish on, and just like that he had fulfilled his end of the bargain.

The day was hot and a swim in the glacier melt was an outstanding way to cool down and enjoy the scenery that surrounded us before the final climb up to Pompolona Lodge.

As day turned to night we enjoyed all that Ultimate Hikes most remote lodge has to offer. Views, food and Kea are staples of a stay at the lodge surrounded by gargantuan cliffs. Pompolona Lodge has a remote feel that is different to all of the other lodges the company owns.

Early-ish the next morning I was up getting breakfast and sorting out my lunch, and according to the lodge manager we were in for more dreaded sunshine. Surely today will be the day when some else is as disappointed about the sunny weather as I am…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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