Saturday, 24 February 2007

Up up and away...

I went with my old man up a mountain near Milford Sound a while ago. Heres a few pictures I saved:

Starts off at Homer Hut, on the Gertrude Valley.

Then we got up to 'Black Lake'. I went for a swim in that iceberg ridden lake! The middle pic above is at Gertrude Saddle looking out to Milford.

It got quite steep! The mountain in the background at the sea is Mitre Peak.

At the top! Looking out to milford, and my father overlooking Lake Adelade

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Return to the Dusky

I must be insane to come back here! This is a record made from the brief notes I wrote every few days on my second trip to the dusky track. I was one of two guides taking a party of 5 threw from Supper cove to Lake Hauroko.

Day 1: Tuatapere -> Te Anau -> Supper Cove
Met everyone at the pub in Tuatapere and the plan was to fly from Tui the next morning. Unfortunately the helicopter we had booked couldn't fly in the weather (it was to small) so we took a trip in a big one that can take 6 people + the pilot... yes we had one to many people so I had to drive to Te Anau quickly and jump on another heli... Got a helicopter just for me from Fiordland helicopters into supper cove. The door came open during a stormy patch and I got drenched, inside a helicopter in midair! The rest of the party was allready there when I landed on the beach at Supper Cove. Had fried pork Steak for dinner and the hut all to ourselves.

Day 2: Supper Cove -> Loch Marie
Got up early to cook everybody porridge (I have had lots of practice this summer on the Hump Ridge) realized we had nothing other than plastic tramping spoons to stir with and ended up burning myself allot! We left the hut at about 8am with heavy packs!
Some of the women (4 over 65 year olds in the group!) had some trouble with the 3-wire bridges, 1 falling off near the start and sliding down the bank!
We got a little sun in the afternoon to get some decent views of the seaforth.
Had a quick lunch and got to test my new $200 stove, boiled enough water for all 7 of us in less than 5 minutes! When we got to the hut there was 11 people there... (hut capacity is 12) so our party of 7 was not too happy! Graeme and I had thermarests so we went on the floor... and a family of 4 that were already there lent us their sleeping mats. Then of coarse more people arrived, 21 in total sharing this hut built for 12!!! Cooked up some bacon for dinner then went to bed on the floor for an eventful night spent glaring in the general direction of the other guide Graeme who seemed to be the source of the very loud snoring!

Day 3: Loch Marie -> ¿Outside? -> Loch Marie
Rained all night, nobody bothered to get up in the morning it was pretty obvious that we were not gonna move anywhere! Annoying that all 21 people followed suit tho, would have liked to upgrade from the floor to a mattress! Roz and I found a floating log tho, it took 3 of us out 20 meters or so and we went for a swim, very refreshing! Rain eased mid afternoon, sun showed its head for a few hours and all was looking good to move on to Lake Roe the next day.
Went down to the bridge and water was running over the bottom wire, never seen it that deep before. Graeme climbed down the ladder on the far side and it was more than a meter over his head and he didn't even touch the bottom! We do have lots of chocolate tho, so we will survive!

Day 4: Loch Marie -> Lake Roe
Wet Wet Wet! The water was only up to my belly button at the bridge so we opted to move on. Left very late and took an hour to ferry all 5 punters + packs across to dry land and get changed ready to start the walk. Havn't been that cold since swimming in Black Lake last year! The whole day was cold wet and miserable no views at all up on the tops heading to lake Roe. Lake Horizon had a weird way of fading into white and matched the sky so it literally had no horizon. Took 8 hours hut to hut, not too bad remembering the average age was 60 odd! Great reception of hot cuppa tea when we got to the hut tho, thanks Ben and Chris! Pity no one bought cards, hey at least everyone made it up the hill! Everyone at the hut left once the first people from our direction had arrived so they knew the bridge was passable, leaving at 3pm for the days walk is a bit suspicion's tho, hope they all got to Loch Marie before dark!

Day 5: Lake Roe -> Halfway hut
Late start, passed 6 people going the other way. Rained all day... surprise surprise! Very very muddy section of track! Took about 7 hours with out older party... God damn theres alot of sandflies at Halfway hut! Went for a swim with Roz & Graeme in the river very fresh!

Day 6: Halfway hut -> Home
mmm mud! And no it didn't rain! It was actually a great day for our boat trip across Lake Hauroko on the Sandfly... I have never found a boat with a more appropriate name they were amune to my 98% dimp poison! Gah very painful trip! Then we finished up at the pub with a final drink, and Joss & Jenni gave me a ride back to Te Anau. One whole day off before I go back to work!