Going Guided (Part Three). Whakatipu Ka Tuka / The Hollyford Track

“On a Mish” #186 Going Guided (Part Three). Whakatipu Ka Tuka / The Hollyford Track. Fiordland National Park. 25.1.2016. Every now and then while guiding people around the special parts of Aotearoa I have had to patch up the odd whoopsie. Sometimes the whoopsie was big enough to merit a rescue via helicopter, and I was happy to be able to help my fellow hiker as quick as possible when out in the wilderness. Going guided means so much more than a hot meal and warm bed at night, it also means you have a safety net ready just in case things go wrong. While being guiding down the Hollyford Valley we needed all the help we could get!

It was only lunchtime on day one and we had already been through so much. Most of the party (guides included) were approaching soaked to the bone status after witnessing the power of mother nature at (the not very) Hidden Falls. My folks were finally getting a taste of Fiordland rain and I was very stoked, along with being soaked! After a bite to eat and hot drink we left the questionably named ‘Sunshine Hut’ and hiked our way back into the complete opposite.

From the lunch hut it is a 10km or so wander over easy ground up over Little Homer Saddle, and then down to our first nights’ accommodation at the incredibly inviting Pyke Lodge. The warm welcome by the lodge managers was the opposite of the wild weather that still raged on outside. After drying off it was time to enjoy one of the best cheese platters I have ever had. I was starting to get used to going guided!

During the night the rain didn’t ease at all and early-ish the next morning I was up in the darkness looking at the vale of water streaming off the roof of the lodge. As the other slowly came into the lounge for breakfast I watched the world around us light up and it would seem there were now lakes where the track used to be.

Fight Flooded Creeks in the Fiordland Forest

Before saying our final goodbyes to our friendly first night hosts we attempted to hike to Lake Alabaster Hut which is a short walk from Pyke Lodge. Right from the word go we were in water above our boots, and this increased the closers we got to the hut. About a couple hundred metres or so from the hut the water deepened, and a scout (me) was needed to go see how deep it was. When the water got past my waist the team decided they wanted to keep the upper half of their legs dry for now, so we returned to the lodge to get ready for the next wild part of our journey.

There are two ways to get to Martins Bay from Pyke Lodge. A: is to walk the formidable Demons Trail (I’ve heard its not as bad as it sounds), or B: jump into a jetboat and motor your way over Lake McKerrow. With the weather the way it was option B was an easy choice, and within a short amount of time we had crossed the lake and were at the site of what was once ‘Jamestown’. Jamestown is its own sad tale and I recommend you look it up but do be prepared for a somewhat depressing story. While we had the story told to us by our legendary guide Mush, the returned. And when it returned it brought all of its watery mates with it!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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