Saturday, February 18, 2006

Milford Trek

Overall, the trip was absolutely incredible. 4 days of beautiful weather, no rain, etc.

Got up early in the morning to catch a bus to Te Anau. Wanted to spend the day there and stayed in a hostel that night. Was a quant little town on Lake Te Anau. They had a great little theater to watch a movie that was filmed about the area that was 30 minutes long. Also watched the movie Murderball later in the afternoon at the same place....that movie was really good as well...put the whining I'm doing about my wrist playing dodgeball into perspective.

We have some great photos. If you need, send me a quick email to my yahoo account and I'll send you a link to the snapfish site.

Day 1

The first day we took a 20 minute bus ride to a boat that cruised us up Lake Te Anau to the beginning of the Trek. The hike was a short one for the first day, only about 1 hour 30 minutes. We finished this early and hung around the hut which was complete with a helicopter landing pad, propane stoves, and bathrooms. All of the huts had these accomadations. No showers but there was cold running water. Apparently they helicopter in and out any waste produced at the huts twice a year. First chance to try out our cooking gear as well as our dehydrated meals, which I have to say are suprisingly tasty!

Day 2

long day.

We stopped along the trek near the river for a lunch break (cheese and crackers) and 2 wea decided to join us. Wea are basically wild mountain parrots, but about 4 times the size of a typical pet parrot. Thing about the size of a medium sized cat or a typical hawk. And they have sharp, pointy beaks that are a bit threatening when they open their mouths. We hadn't really done any reading about these birds at this point and didn't really know what to think, so we were quite suprised when the birds walked right up to us about 2 feet away and opened their beaks. Later, we were advised to not leave anything out or these birds would take it, and indeed some folks had a whole bag of dried fruit carried off and one person was swooped down upon in order to steal a camera!

After a quick lunch at 'the bus stop' hut along the river, we continued our ascent to our hut for the evening. We also broke out the trekking poles to give us support in some more precarious predicaments along the way.

Day 3

Day 3 was by far the most physically intense day of the trek. We rose about 550 meters to climb to the peak of Mt. XXX then returned down the other side about 1000 meters to our final hut on the trek. The uphill we took out in about 1 hr. 40 minutes and was not bad, but the 100 meter downhill was much more intense as well as being a bit scary. About half way through my left knee was feeling a bit edgy so I relied on my trekking poles quite a bit. Downhill is generally pretty hard on the knees, but carrying a rather heavy pack combined with already having miles under your belt makes it that much more interesting. Additionally, the 'path' was really lots of boulders that you were walking down, most of which were moist and many covered in running water. The vibram soles were valuable here as well as using both trekking poles to keep balanced.

Day 3 also included a 90 minute detour to take a look at Sutherland Falls, a beautiful 500 meter waterfall. Well worth the hike but my brain doesn't do real well with the whole out and back trip after the uphill and downhill we just faced. Nevertheless, we were able to leave our packs at the bottom so that made it do-able.

Day 4

An early rise and breakfast on the run. We left camp at 7am and had to meet a boat picking us up in Milford Sound at 2pm at a place called Sandfly Point. The previous night I had written down various markers along the way and the times we needed to get to each of them to keep on time. The terrain was easier to handle than the previous day but the elevation map was misleading: it implied that it was up for a bit then lots of downhill. In reality, there were lots of little ups and downs along the way. Saw a rock in the shape of a bell and some beautiful waterfalls along the way. Made it with some time to change our clothes before the boat picked us up and took us to the bus on the other side of the beautiful Milford Sound. After that, it was a long 5 hours back to Queenstown! Ended the trip with about 15 sandfly bites. I don't know much about these creatures, but do know that their bites itch like mad. No blisters, no knees giving out, no crazy ankle twists!

We have tons of great photos and met some nice people along the way, its really impossible to describe what we could see without looking at the photos, and even then when we look at the photos its impossible to do the sights and sounds justice. The Milford Trek is considered one of those things you should do before you die, many writers have commented its one of the most significant journies of their lifetimes, and know I understand better.

Argh, always seem to be getting kicked out of these Internet Cafes....gotta post before they shut off my machine!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ugh dude! Make sure to wash your hands when using the cyber cafes:

- Chuck D