Munted Ankle Mish (Part One) – Cirque Creek Camp

“On a Mish” #105 Munted Ankle Mish (Part One). Cirque Creek. Fiordland National Park. 28.1.2019. Being someone who needs a constant dose of mountains means anything that prevents me getting my outdoor fix is really BAD. Up until I hurt my hip I hadn’t had many long breaks for adventuring. If you really love what you do in your spare time then sitting around doing nothing gets very frustrating very quickly. After a couple of weeks on the sideline I was ready to test out my ankle with an easy wander with some excellent views to match…

Unfortunately an encounter with a laundry bag had munted my ankle leaving it looking like a red, swollen skin gumboot. This inconvenience rendered me useless / imobile for a couple of weeks (one week of which I was on crutches) and I was forced to sit around at my home.

I had been recovering for a while, while also slowly going crazy looking out my window at the mountains surrounding Te Anau (Fiordland). I am very lucky to live in a location that can satisfy my senses with a good look out of the window.

I had managed / struggled to rest up for a while, but I can only do very little so long before the mish cravings get too much. So I wanted to test my ankle’s capabilities on mountainous terrain, and get myself back in the camping mission game. I knew I couldn’t travel very far so I scanned the map for suitable spots.

Easily my favourite mountain range on the planet is the mighty Darran Mountains in north west Fiordland. Jagged chunks of granite and ice stand tallest of all mountains in Fiordland and their steepness and scenic appeal never fades in impressiveness, no matter how many times you go there. Somehow I needed to get myself to a camping spot in this massive range.

Apart from the Milford Road, which skirts around the northern reaches of the Darran Range in the Hollyford and Cleddau Valleys, the incredible range is only accessible by rough hiking tracks, or going through thick Fiordland bush . The few tough trails that make their way amongst the rocky beasts aren’t easy. Plenty of effort is needed to gain the upper reaches of the valleys and to access the peaks in the range if you want a chance at claiming a mountain summit.

There are very few easily accessible places to go for a camp, unless you think outside the box or break the rules by camping just off the road. Upright unrelenting land offers very few flat spots to pitch a tent.

In the Upper Hollyford Valley (one of the most dramatic places on the planet) is the short and sweet Cirque Creek. Narrow like a natural corridor with huge mountains towering above, the valley is about 6km down from the Homer Tunnel, and this (hopefully) would be the place I was going to go and attempt to get my camping fix… (if my ankle was up to the task).

Now that I had a plan it was time to pack my bags and head to the magnificent Milford Road and drive to a place where my mind can be at ease…

Camp at the entrance to Cirque Creek

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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