The Percy Saddle – Part One

“A Mish a Day” #183 The Percy Saddle – Part One. Fiordland National Park. 11.11.2017. After having my first taste of the mountains west of Manapouri I was left with a craving for more. But unlike my first adventure across Lake Manapouri, this time I was armed with all of my camping gear, and a plan to visit Percy Saddle for the first time. An awesome part about living the Real Journeys dream is the access to mountains in very remote places via a trip across the lake on one of the Real Journeys ferries. The mighty peaks that loom over the western arm of Lake Manapouri (conveniently named ‘West Arm’) aren’t as big and gnarly as the peaks of the Darrans and others in the northern end of the national park. But they do offer an incredible amount of uplifted ground to explore and climb…

A lift across the lake on an ‘RJ’s’ boat takes you into some of the most outstanding terrain, and that terrain must be visited! For me there is nothing better than hiking into a remote place, and having the opportunity to have a large area of land, such as a valley or mountainside, all to yourself. There are very few places left in the world where total seclusion is a possible option, and we are very lucky here in Aotearoa to have many of these places still left untouched.

For an adventurer Percy Saddle has it all. Even though the saddle is near a huge power station in West Arm, and has thousands of people passing the road to the saddle daily as they visit Patea/Doubtful Sound. The area is usually only inhabited by a gang of Kea (and the workers at the power station) and the odd Chamois. As I crossed Lake Manapouri for the second time, I saw the power line road heading into the Wolfe Burn Valley, and then up to Percy Saddle. I had days off and was waiting with the other passengers at the wharf in Manapouri, looking a little out of place being the only person in hiking gear with a full camping pack. The odd question of “where ya heading” was answered with “I don’t know yet”, and I parted ways with the other passengers after getting off the boat at West Arm. In increasingly darkening skies I saddled up and began my adventure into new surroundings. A new place but the same old Fiordland beauty kept me climbing higher and higher on the powerline road up to the saddle, the location for my next Fiordland EPIC!!.

Camp on the Percy Saddle (just before it started to snow)

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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