Peace and Quiet – Gertrude Valley Camp (Part Two)

“A Mish a Day” #147 Gertrude Valley Camp – Part Two. Fiordland National Park. 2.2.2014. An adventure into the outdoors is a package deal. I enjoy the whole process from working out where to go, to loading the photos onto my computer after returning. A part of the journey I especially enjoy is when you first get out of your car at the trailhead, or even just a park on the side of the road if tackling un-tracked areas. Opening the car door in the Gertrude Valley Car Park has to be one of the most motivating moments an adventure seeker can have…

I have made sure to repeat the rush many times over since my first visit, and the hit of epicness takes the excitement meter up to an 11 out of 10! With nothing but blue skies above I tied up my hiking boots, and after getting my affairs together I hit the Gertrude Valley Track. After about 45 minutes I turned right off the track, and towards the flat spot under Mount Crosscut(2263m), the campsite I had seen on the map before leaving. The site was excellent, with views both up and down the Gertrude Valley, but there was only one problem and that was no water for drinking and cooking. By the time I began my quest to find water it was well into the evening, and the light of the day was beginning to fade. I watched the shadows roll down the west faces of the mountains, and for a few moments the upper levels glowed gold with the last of the sun’s light. After a search of the area I found a waterfall which tumbled down the massive cliffs below Mt Talbot’s east face glacier. The spectacular cliff is known to climbers as Psychopath Wall, and as I topped up my water supply I wondered what the chances were of a huge chunk of Glacier hundreds of meters above me breaking off at this point in time and crashing down on top of me? Every moment in this place is full of awe and wonder. Even the simple task of filling up a water bottle lets your mind put you in the shoes of the early explorers who first ventured into the valley.

Sunsetting on Barrier Peak(2039m)

As I crossed back over the valley to my camp, I came across a group of fellas who resembled the opposite of a well prepared explorer. The group was making their way up the track towards Gertrude Saddle even though there was no way they would get anywhere near the Saddle before dark. As if to reinforce their unpreparedness one fella was wearing flip flops, a singlet and footy shorts, and that was him “ready” to tackle a 1400 meter saddle in one of the wildest locations on the planet. The Saddle was a good two hours or so from where I was, so I had to hold back bursting into laughter when they asked if it was much further on?! I gave them the basic information and wished them ‘good luck’, and then headed back over the valley to my camp. With water supplies replenished it was time to have some food, and then think about retreating to the warmth of my sleeping bag…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter