I have struggled somewhat with this post.
My original intent was to share my experience of the remainder of the Milford Track hike with you. However this week a hiker has died on the track after getting swept away on a river crossing. Knowing this happened within days of me being in the same place has left me feeling somewhat mixed about my time on the track and my observations now feel a little trite.
At no time that I was on the track did I feel any danger. I chose to go on it knowing that I had a great weather window and as it happens it didn’t even rain while I was there over the four days which is most unusual. Locally referred to tongue and cheek as a drought. However this week the weather is altogether different and sadly a number of hikers decided to cross a rising river and got into difficulties culminating with one tragically losing her life.
It is undoubtably a beautiful track, 54km long winding through Fiordland National Park, the views are quite spectacular, deep lakes, silent fiords, forest and sheer canyons carved out of imposing granite define the area which is also teeming with birdlife. Walking though it, I felt the area was unblemished and in it’s most natural state. Perhaps that’s what I need to take away from this. I already know I admire nature and love being in these places but I also need to continue to remember to respect it.
Here’s a glimpse of what can be seen along those 54kms……..
I will share one highlight.
On the morning of the third day we hiked to MacKinnon Pass, the highest point on the trail at 1,154m The entire hike up from the valley we were shrouded in cloud and had no sense of what lay behind it. While hiking up I think we all had our fingers crossed that it would lift as we could only spend so long at the top to ensure we got down the other side in daylight. Our luck was in. After maybe 10 minutes at the pass, like somebody flicked a switch or opened the curtains in an instant the clouds evaporated to reveal that we were dwarfed by towering peaks. I was beaming. Simply one of those magical moments.