No Hut Creek (Part One) – Hut Creek Camp

“On a Mish” #139 No Hut Creek (Part One). Earl Mountains. Fiordland National Park. 22.1.2013. There are no easy ways to get into the steep sided valleys of the Earl Mountains in Fiordland, but of the few tracks that force a route in, Hut Creek is the ‘easiest’. I was after an overnight mission and was keen on heading into the mountains of Fiordland…

I was working on the Milford Track and thought it would be cool to camp just over the hills from Glade House (1st lodge on the Milford Track). Apart from a mission up to Dore Pass(1390m) from the Milford Track side (near Glade House), I hadn’t been into the Earl Mountains at this stage. And of all the tracks Hut Creek looked like an excellent first hike in this spectacular mountain range.

It is strange it took me so long to visit this part of Fiordland National Park for it is an area easily accessed from the Milford Road. This mission started a fascination with adventures that begin on one of the world’s best roads.

From a small car park on the famous highway to Piopiotahi / Milford Sound, the track quietly makes its way through open beech forest and ferns for about 30 minutes or so. After crossing over a wire bridge which spans the Eglington River the track comes to a junction where you can choose either the Mistake or Hut Creek Tracks.

The Eglington Valley from the entrance to Hut Creek

After only a short distance of easy hiking the busy Milford Road became a distant memory, and I found the freedom which I was seeking amongst the native forest.

It is funny how the mind can convince you that wet boots are a really bad thing. Sometimes I have gone for weeks wearing the same pair of wet boots everyday while guiding, due to not getting a chance to dry them properly between trips! With that said I still looked down at the river I needed to cross and then looked at my nice dry boots. The wet footwear issue was instantly forgotten as I took in the glorious view of the Eglinton Valley from the opposite side to the Milford Road.

A gorge at the entrance of the valley needs to be avoided so the track climbs around it via steep ground on the true left of the river. This is the only ‘tough’ section of track, and then travel became easier once on the flats in the lower reaches of the valley.

I wandered along the valley floor pleased with my decision to trek into hut creek. I’m sure the name has caught a few out as there is no hut up Hut Creek. I would have loved to have entered a shelter / hut / bivouac here but for now my tent will serve as my ‘hut’ up the creek that really makes up think that shelter exists somewhere amongst its grandeur…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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