‘The finest walk in the world’

This is how many guide books describe the 54 km Milford Track. Prior to leaving for New Z, I challenged myself to do three backpacking trips. Our friend Bob had loaned me a backpack and I couldn’t return it unsullied. The Milford Track would be our second backpacker- a three night four day journey through Fiordland National Park. I never worried whether I’d be able to cover the miles- my fears were hut inspired. I’d be sleeping with 38 strangers. The Milford Track is a ‘managed track’ and the number of independent walkers is limited to 40 per day with set three-night hut accommodations. But a challenge is a challenge.

Getting to the start of the Milford Track is a challenge too. We drove nine hours to Te Anau. The next morning we traveled by bus to Te Anua Downs where a ferry took us across Lake Te Anau to Glade Wharf, the start of the track.

Loading up at Te Anau Downs- no turning back now!

Loading up at Te Anau Downs- no turning back now!

We were ready to start: DSC01108 (1024x768)

Milford Track has nine swing bridges which I confess are scary to cross. I had to ask Forrest to stop hopping up and down in the middle of them.

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Waterfalls abounded with abandon!

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Hut life was a challenge for me, not so much for Forrest. One night a Korean woman slept above me. Another night a man from Perth. A third night no one was on the top bunk and I finally slept some. All 40 of us cooked together in a common room and enjoyed nightly talks from rangers. Unisex bathrooms with cold water sinks and stalls were located in another building. Weird brushing teeth with strangers.

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Boots needed to be tied together and hung from posts so cheeky kea parrots would not fly off with one. The ranger said this had happened recently and the victim had to hike out in a boot and a jandal.

Alpine flora during the climb to Mackinnon Pass was stunning.

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My head was literally in the clouds as we made our ascent on the third day. The highest point on the track is Mackinnon Pass at 1154 meters. At about 1100 meters our heads emerged. OMG! (Look for Forrest’s post on the Pass.)

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The six hour climb down over rocky uneven trail made my knees uber wobbly. On the third night Dumpling Hut came with a swimming hole. How’s the water, Forrest?

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The last day’s hike from Dumpling Hut to Sandfly Point took about six hours.

Victory!

Victory!

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One more ferry ride, a bus ride and then……………….hot private showers!

Forrest dreaming of a coca-Cola.

Forrest dreaming of a Coca-Cola.

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