Snow Makes Everything Better – Eglington Valley Camp (Part Three)

“On a Mish” #289 Snow Makes Everything Better (Part Three). Mid Eglington Valley. Fiordland National Park. 30.6.2021. I’ll take a night in a tent in an epic location over a hotel nearly every time. Put that tent in Fiordland and even the offer of a night in a 5-star plus hotel will be instantly turned down! And as if the draw of my favourite national park isn’t enough, add in some snow and I’m there with a smile on my dial!

Pure bliss to me is being wrapped up warm in my sleeping bag listening to the constant trickle of a mountain stream somewhere in Fiordland National Park, or anywhere else with lots of mountains, stunning views and very few people. Many around the world will never get the chance to be alone, here in Aotearoa we can do this in places that will blow your mind with beauty. And add in the fact that snow makes everything better.

I got up and peered out of my tent in the darkness of early-ish morning and was surprised to see a very bright full moon lighting up the valley like it was the day. The whiteness of the snow glittered in the moonlight as I reluctantly dragged myself out of the warmth of my sleeping bag and into the chilly environment. My hip was on fire due to the coldness and I would have liked to enjoy the warmth for longer but I had work and had to get myself and my gear back home first.

Fiordland Putting on a Spectacular Show!

After packing up most of my camping kit I trotted my way down the icy riverbed to my car. The frost was making the rocks in the riverbed very slippery, and I had to be careful as I hiked back down to my car. This was load number one of two, as when I got to my car I grabbed my second bag.

It was now the coldest part of the morning and by the time I got back up to my tent it had a layer of frost on it which looked like a covering of spiky white hairs of ice. Some of these icy spikes were about a centimetre in length and when touched they became an icy dust. It is little fascinating things like this that makes me love the coolness of coldness.

Stuffing the tent into my bag meant covering my hands with a fine powder of dry ice, and this left my fingertips a little bit chilly to say the least!

I warmed up while hiking back down to the car, and by the time I got back to it for the second time that morning the valley was beginning to light up with the approaching sun of a new day in Fiordland.

I fired up the old girl and immediately realised I wasn’t going anywhere with an impressively thick layer of ice on my windscreen. I had some water in my car which offered little help as it seemed to freeze almost as soon as it came out of the bottle. It was bloody cold to say the least!

After about 10 minutes of the car running with the heater on full blast I started to see out of the windscreen and it was time to get back to Te Anau.

Even though I was only 66km from my house I still made sure I was up early as I knew I would be driving slowly on the trip back to town. In places I could see the shimmer of black ice on the road’s surface, and this kept my speed down as I didn’t want to slide off the road into the beech forest. A crash would be a rather bad way to start the day.

After getting out of the national park and closer to town I got my first views of the mountains west of Lake Te Anau and they looked absolutely incredible. Unfortunately once I got near the township I could see the place was once again covered in frustrating fog and I was back in the place where washing stays wet! At least I got a clear night while on my epic Fiordland mish and the adventure reinforced my belief that snow really does make everything look better!!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter