Monkey Creek – Part Two

“A Mish a Day” #72 Monkey Creek – Part Two. Fiordland National Park. 27.2.2016. Happiness is having a valley to yourself. There are few places on planet earth where you can go and be alone. Fiordland is a special place, because escape from civilisation is only a mish away. Most humans will go their whole life within arms reach of others, and never know the pleasure of escaping the rat race. I love explaining Fiordland remoteness to people when I guide, and to blow people’s minds with the reality of the lack of people is a satisfying part of the job. To combine remote, alone and the Darran Mountains is pushing the limits of awesomeness. Wandering the upper reaches of Monkey Creek was everything two Fiordland fanatics could ask for…

We made our way along the narrow corridor of the valley to a perfect flat spot on an old riverbed. The site was of extreme quality, with a front door view of the queen of the Hollyford Valley, Mt Christina(2474m). To make the floor of the tent not too rocky we laid down a layer of tussock over the uneven valley floor for the tent to sit on. After camp was set up we headed further up the valley to some giant waterfalls cascading down from a gut between Mt Park(2020m) and Students Peak(1913m). From the elevated spot we could see the head of the valley under Mt Charlton(2152m) in one direction, and Mt Christina(2474m) in the other. As the afternoon turned to early evening the valley filled with fog, a regular occurrence in the valleys of Fiordland, and something to be aware of when hiking off track. With satisfied legs (tired ones) we retreated to the tent, and drifted off to sleep with the constant trickle of Monkey Creek providing the night’s soundtrack. I have always made it a habit to make a very obvious trail whenever venturing into untracked areas, sometimes using rocks to make rock cairns or by tying tussock into knots.

Morning time rolled around, and early-ish I poked my head out of the tent to visibility of about two meters. Luckily we had marked our route, and this was crucial for finding the way back through the maze of rocks and boulders. At the treeline we got glimpses of the road, and we could already see bus loads of people gathered at the Monkey Creek car park. Once again Monkey Creek needed to be crossed to get to the car park on the other side, and the chilly water was soothing on our well used feet. It is always funny to come back into contact with the outside world and the stares of the confused tourists, wondering where the hell you have come from! We were happy to find the car had not been used as a Kea chew toy, and now the final task was the drive back to cars, concrete and civilization.

Leaving behind mattress of tussock at our campsite

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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