Hanging Valley Camp – Part One

“On a Mish” #258 Hanging Valley Camp – Part One. Deep Cove. Fiordland. 17.12.2017. For those lucky enough to have been to Patea / Doubtful Sound, would have felt the remotenessess of the area. Just to get there is a mission in itself, but the rewards make the effort seem insignificant. Before the road was cut over Wilmot Pass(671m) there was a hiking track. This would have been one of the best hiking tracks in New Zealand. Starting with a cruise across Lake Manapouri to wet the wilderness seekers appetite before taking a single step. With the mountains closing in around West Arm, the excitement and anticipation of exploring this new and pristine land get to boiling point as the boat reaches its most western destination. Finally it’s time to saddle up and hit the track over the pass. The climb up out of the Spey Valley into the Dashwood is full of views of the windswept peaks of the Turret Range and the mountains towering over the Dusky Track. The gradual climb up the Dashwood Valley leads to the pass, and then a steep descent down into Deep Cove. With the dark water of Patea / Doubtful Sound lapping the forested coastline, and Helena Falls pumping its water into the fiord, it is hard to imagine a more pristine location…

It was here where a lodge once housed the weary hikers after a big walk from West Arm, and from here many of these tied trampers would have stared up at Huntleigh Falls just like I did on my first visit to the area. High above Huntleigh Falls is Lake Troup, and above that towers Mt Troup(1512m). My plan was to travel into Deep Cove, then camp up at Lake Troup and climb Mt Troup(1512m). The scene was set for a mountain adventure. Sunny skies, light winds and the craving for adventure high. By this stage I had only been to Deep Cove twice, and those two visits left a real impression on me.

Patea / Doubtful Sound from Wilmot Pass(671m)

I had heard that there was an old track up Mt Troup(1512m), and this track started somewhere on the Hanging Valley Track. The Hanging Valley Track is a steep grunt uphill from Deep Cove to Huntleigh Falls, and with elevation comes views. Along with the bus load of tourists, I was lucky to have the classic view of Patea / Doubtful Sound from the top of Wilmot Pass(671m). I got dropped off at the lodge in Deep Cove, and from here the climbing began. A full pack vs the Hanging Valley Track is a quick fix for ‘bus-legs’, and in no time I was sweating up a storm in the fresh Fiordland air. The Mt Troup side track is located about halfway up the Hanging Valley Track, but unknown to me was that a recent storm had knocked out the markers for the start of the track…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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