Everyday is Different (Part Three) – The Humpridge Track

“On a Mish” #98 Everyday is Different – Part Three. The Humpridge Track. Fiordland National Park. 27.4.2011. It is awesome that the Humpridge Track finally got ‘Great Walk’ status, adding it to a list of legendary walks to do in Aotearoa. This will increase the track’s exposure to the rest of the world and really establish it as something ‘to do’ when in Aotearoa. Nothing but good things will come out of the track becoming a great walk, and a lot of work will go into modifying some of the track’s ‘tricky’ sections. When my parents and I went down to walk the track for the first time back in 2011 it was still unknown to most, and I had no idea that it would become the location for my future employment…

We had climbed the mountain and now enjoyed the comfort of Okaka Lodge, the final stop on the first day of three. We had trekked 21km and were looking forward to a meal, however due to the thick cloud and swirling wind preventing the chopper from flying, our food hadn’t arrived yet. It really looked like my parents‘ packs (plus our dinner) weren’t going to arrive, but then amongst the fog the distant thud of rotor blades could be heard. Somehow the legendary airman got the machine through the mist and was now landing on the small helipad just down from the lodge’s main buildings. A huge sense of relief came over the people in the lodge and not long after the helicopter disappeared back into the clouds, the lodge’s kitchen burst into life with many hungry hikers (me included) preparing their feasts. We spent the evening enjoying the comfortable lodge perched on top of the southern end of the ‘Hump Ridge’ as darkness took over outside. It was time to retreat to our rooms for some well earned and much needed rest, as tomorrow the mission would continue and we still had a long way to go.

Early-ish the next morning I peeked out of the bunkroom window to see an alpine area covered in snow. The rain and hail had turned to snow overnight and this meant we were in for a real treat once we got out on the track. We smashed a large bowl of porridge (provided by the lodge staff) and then began our trek to the oceanside shelter of Port Craig Lodge. With the clouds beginning to clear we dropped our packs at the start / finish of the alpine loop track and then headed up to the stunning highpoint of the Humpridge Track. The swirling cloud gave us glimpses of the broad sweep of Te Waewae Bay and every now and then we spotted the distant land mass of Rakiura / Stewart Island. This is why the loop track was constructed and we were very lucky to be enjoying the area with a sprinkling of snow. After the loop we retrieved our packs and began our hike towards the dark green water of Foveaux Strait and our next lodge down at the historic setting of Port Craig…

Into the Snow Above Okaka Lodge

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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