Darran Mountain Gold (Part Three) – McPherson Cirque

“On a Mish” #318 Darran Mountain Gold (Part Three). McPherson Cirque. Fiordland National Park. 7.2.2022. Wilderness heals the mind and soul. That is something I have recently found out for myself while navigating my own injury journey. After hurting my hip I really did think I might not get back into the mountains, and that was a scary thought. But like a prospector in search of their fortune I found the smallest flake and this was enough to keep me looking for more…

Forcing myself back into the hiking world was tough at first, but after a couple of missions I began to feel the power of nature working its magic on my hip. But more importantly, being outdoors was healing the wounds that had formed in my mind. When you lose something you love, the negative thoughts can begin to take over and if you don’t have anything to stop the sadness you can find yourself in a very dire situation. Spending a night with your thoughts and an epic view might be the missing satisfaction you have been looking for.

Just before I headed to bed I took one last glimpse at the dusk sky and once again my gaze was fixed on the epic beauty of the area I had made my home for the night. I finally had the place to myself, and every so often I would see the distant light of the cars on the Milford Road which would remind me I wasn’t totally alone.

After the oranges and reds had faded to darkness I finally retreated to the warmth of my sleeping back and quickly drifted off to sleep to the sounds of the many waterfalls cascading down from the tall cliffs above me.

Mount Moir(1965m) at sunrise

Early-ish the next morning I was up watching night give way to the light of dawn. The magnificent mountains appeared out of the darkness one by one and Fiordland provided another epic start to the day.

Keenness was on display as I could see the head torches of the first climbers making their way towards Homer Saddle(1375m) and beyond. It was very awesome to see people out as soon as possible to make the most of the perfect weather and incredible location.

I had things to do back home in Te Anau so I had to reluctantly pack up and return to the real world. But hey, at least I had an epic afternoon, evening and morning surrounded by Fiordland giants.

As I packed up my tent I watched more and more climbers coming up the valley and most didn’t even notice me as they were fixated on their own quest for glory. It was very refreshing to see activity in a place that is usually very quiet, or deafening with the sounds of heavy rain and flooding.

After packing up it was time to heave my pack up onto my back, and this is never a pleasant feeling when you have a bad hip. The weight pushed down on my tender spot and the discomfort makes me walk strangely to begin with. I started my hike with a bit of a shuffle, but after about ten minutes I was into it walking more like a human than crab, and with the help of gravity I aimed for the Milford Road.

It didn’t take long for me to get back to my car and as I did another car full of climbers pulled into the roadside car park all buzzing with pre-adventure glee. Oh to be able bodied and joining them.

Once again my hip was screaming stop and thoughts of sitting down were very strong by the time I threw my pack down beside my car. I knew my pain was eventually going to go away and the memories of the gold I had struck in the McPherson Cirque were going to stay with me forever. It was all worth it as I had another epic night in the Darrans under my belt.

The mish was a bit of an eye opener to how busy the little spot in paradise can get. Seeing so many people out and about is a good thing as we have the best country for it. It would appear that the secret is out and the masses have got the message!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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