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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Mintaro Hut

NEW ZEALAND | Friday, 14 November 2008 | Views [760]

Day two of the Milford Track trek! I woke up at 7:00 AM when I heard all the ruckus of everyone else getting ready to set out. I got dressed and then washed up. Laurel and I took a photo together with our bags to make it official that we’re Milford “trackers.” It was a little bit chilly but the sky was bright blue. Even though I haven’t seen rain yet, you’d be hard-pressed to walk Milford Track without any rain. Five minutes into the walk, I took my jacket off and filled my water bottle from the Clinton River. Since I was on Milford Track I took my sweet ass time. Milford Track has been around for more than 100 years; even the Maoris walked it. Yesterday I said the landscape is very similar to Yosemite National Park, but this is much more spectacular! Waterfalls are all over and my eyes lit up brightly with each step. I love you New Zealand! A couple from Israel were walking with me: a young man named Shai and his girlfriend, Donna. As I was walking I ate chocolate as my energy food and I couldn’t keep my camera off. A helicopter flew through the valley and that showed the sheer size of this place. Unlike on the Inca Trail, there are no locals selling snacks and soft drinks. At the halfway point I stopped at Hidden Lake and relaxed for about 10 minutes.

Some of the trampers stopped for lunch. As I continued on, I stopped to photograph MacKinnon Pass, which is the highest point of Milford Track. The water in the rivers, lakes, and streams is crystal clear and makes for great photos. Next I stopped at Prairie Lake to photograph the pretty waterfall; at the same time taking a short video telling Teressa that I love her. Walking slowly, I continued along the world’s greatest track. The St. Quintin Falls are spectacular, so I got a photo of them too. The hut was only 1 ½ hours away but I was in no hurry at all. Few people get to ever walk Milford Track, so I was relishing the moment. At about 2:00, I made it to Mintaro Hut. I couldn’t ask for a better setting; it was so amazing. I immediately took my pack off and got something out for lunch. Earlier I was snacking on muffin bars until I ran out. For lunch I made spaghetti bolonaise, but I put a bit too much water in it. It was good either way. For the entire walk, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Heavy rain is forecasted for Sunday, which is the last day, so I have to be ready. After resting for an hour I decided to go up to MacKinnon Pass, since I never know if it isn’t going to be clear tomorrow. I brought along a chocolate bar and my Lonely Planet book and began walking. The kea hangs out near our hut, and there are signs to not leave our boots and clothes out front. The first part of the walk is flat, but then it got really rocky with many switchbacks. Strong tramping boots are a must in sections like this. There are some sections that are rock fall zones, so there are signs advising people not to stop in these areas. Pretty flowers are on this trail, so I photographed some to send to Teressa. The walk up is quite demanding and a good workout. This still wasn’t as bad as the Inca Trail. There are a lot of rocks. For awhile I was having fun throwing rocks into the canyon but I was told that I can kill someone doing that because of the switchbacks (people could be walking). The young man who told me that said I was almost to MacKinnon Pass. The landscape is spectacular with some snow still high on the slopes. I walked up bravely and made it to the MacKinnon memorial at about 5:00. It was still another 10 minutes to the highest point. At 1154 metres it is the highest point of Milford Track (that compares to 4200 metres for the Inca Trail). It is so beautiful!!

Laurel was up there and beginning to head back down. A couple from the U.K. near Bath took photos of me looking out into Arthur Valley. Tomorrow it is a 900 metre descent, so my knees have to be ready. There was no place to fill my water bottle and I needed something to drink after sweating all day. As I made my descent I was talking with that couple and sharing travel stories. We both agree that Queenstown is really expensive. They went jet-boating and hang-gliding. This is also their second time in New Zealand. At about 7:00, we were back at the hut and I was really worn out. I lay there on the bed for about 10 minutes and then decided to go prepare my dinner. I made sweet and sour lamb, but it wasn’t all that good; probably because I used too much water. I don’t have a measuring cup so I have to estimate the measurement. After dinner I made some orange Raro, which is kind of like Kool-Aid. I asked a number of people if they were up for a game of chess, but no one was interested. A couple from Italy had apple crumble for dessert and I was a bit jealous. On the walk I brought along plenty of dinners but not enough desserts, snacks, and breakfast foods. The sandflies at Mintaro Hut aren’t as annoying as at the Clinton Hut but my legs, feet, and arms are all bit up. The sandflies are probably worse on Stewart Island and I was itching for awhile after returning from there. When I finish Milford Track, the only thing that I won’t miss are the sandflies. I haven’t had a shower in four days so I feel like crap. At 10:15 the lights went out, so I washed up and got ready for bed. Tomorrow I have another long walk; today I walked for about 11 hours so I need a really good rest. I’ll see you soon!

 

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