We’ve all been there, that one (or more) memorable trip where it just doesn’t stop raining. I’ve definitely been there and done that.
For me this trip was my first time doing the Milford Track in Fiordland. This trip was definitely all about the water. Ironically, we picked up our tickets in the DOC office in Te Anau, and this poem was on the wall…..and so the journey began…………….
It rained, and it rained, and rained and rained.
The average fall was well maintained. And when the tracks were simply bogs,
It started raining cats and dogs.
After a drought of half an hour
We had the most refreshing shower.
And then, the most curious thing of all A gentle rain began to fall.
Next day was also fairly dry
(save for the deluge from the sky)
which wet the party to the skin,
And after that…. the rain set in!
We departed Te Anau, full of hope and excitement. It had been raining all day, and continued to do so all the way to Clinton Hut, once everyone had reached this hut, the warden was kind enough to block us from leaving the hut area by tying “caution” take across the track, it was for our own safety of course. The warden let us know that night that we may be delayed leaving the following morning as there were sections of track under water.
Next day we were aiming for Mintaro Hut, rain was once again the order of the day for us and we definitely made the most of it. By the time we reached the hut, our wet weather gear was wet from the inside out. Again we were blocked from leaving the hut area overnight, another explanation came about track flooding, and possible delays leaving the following day. We were definitely wondering what McKinnon Pass would have in store for us.
Day three dawned, and yet again it was raining. We made it up to McKinnon Pass, took cover in the shelter on top and had something to eat. We then braved the rain again and headed for Dumpling Hut and our last night on the track. When we reached the valley floor, the swim began! Yes, that’s right SWIM!. Most of this section of track was under water, it was over our knees. We stopped at the shelter where the track heads to Sutherland Falls, the noise and the sight of all the water crashing down was intense. People ahead of us had tried to reach the falls but had to turn around, you couldn’t get to within 250 metres of the falls because of the water. Needless to say, we decided not to head down that way. We made it to Dumpling Hut without incident. Part of the hut had suffered some damage from the storm we had been walking through.
Our final day delivered more rain for us, it was rather hideous putting on soaking we, wet weather gear. It never had a chance to dry overnight. on we headed to Sandfly Point and our extraction which we were really looking forward to. At Sandfly Point we had time to change out of our we cloths and put on our nice and dry hut cloths and wait for the boat to come and pick us up.