Milford Sound tramping

Now it’s time to write little about one of the coolest tramping I’ve ever made! Magnus, Moritz and I decided to check out the Milford National Park for a weekend and it has certainly given us some great memories!
We drove our car, the Oliphant, to the beginning of the track and slept in our tent during the night, so that we could start our tramp as early as possible on Saturday morning (map of the track).

Because we arrived in the middle of the night we didn’t see any of the mountains and had only been able to see the trees very close to the road. In the morning we were all stunned by the beautiful mountains. They were all very steep and surrounded us from all sides.
We just couldn’t wait to get ‘on top of something’ and started of in a great tramping speed towards our goal. We were following a thin path leading us through the jungle. The path was sometimes very hard to see and we got lost several times and had to go back and search for it again.

It was very hard to go through the jungle off-track so we were very happy that the path was there, showing us the way. After we’ve been tramping for about 5 hours in the jungle, sometimes very steep and sometimes very brushy, we noticed that the river in the valley beside us had stopped roaring, in lack of water. Some minutes later we also got aware of that we couldn’t find the last bit of the track. But because we almost were at the end of the track anyway, we decided to try to get down to the river to fill our water bottles. We soon found out that water could be our big problem.
We had arrived in the end of a very dry period and the river was completely dried up and without any water it would be impossible for us to make the trip as planned. After some discussion we decided that we should try to continue anyway, off track, in the very thick jungle, hoping to find some water higher up.

After a while the jungle changed. The trees disappeared and higher up thick and low bushes took over. We knew where we were because the pass (our goal) could be seen far up in front of us. Because it was so steep it was important to be careful and choose a good way to the pass. After crossing the river we followed another arm of it upwards, walking in the river jumping between the rocks. After some more hours we realised that we’ve done the right choice because a waterfall (with water!) could be seen high up ahead of us. We decided to get to the top of the waterfall and to camp somewhere on the way and to try to reach our goal tomorrow morning.
Because it was very steep we couldn’t put up our tent and had to continue. While I was cooking some food Magnus and Moritz went ahead to find a tent spot higher up, and they found a really cool one!
It was a great spot close to the top of a high waterfall. We put up our tent there and enjoyed the view of the valley and the dried-out river in which we’ve been walking in during the day!

It was now late in the afternoon and because we had planned to make another trip the day after, we decided to leave our backpacks in the tent and continue with just some water, snack food and rain clothes. We knew that we just had just little more than one hour to get to the pass to be able to be home before it got dark.
Now a very steep tramp lay ahead of us. It was a little bit creepy to go up there because we knew that at our right was a very big steep that we had spent several hours to walk around earlier that day. We also became aware of that we wouldn’t be able to climb down again in case it, for some reason, got dark.

After a little more than an hour fight against the clock Magnus reached the pass first. He didn’t say anything special and just sat down as if he was just going to take a break. When I got up there I was almost chocked about the fact that I was actually there already.
I had expected that the pass was rounded off but this was a very sharp edge that we were sitting on. It was extremely cool to see the mountains surrounding us, and the tiny road twisting as a snake far, far below. If we looked back the way we had been coming from we saw the beautiful valley between the mountains and the jungle lying as a thick green blanket at the very bottom.
When you were sitting there you got a very creepy feeling while watching your friends moving around taking pictures. It was so steep that if they made a single false step there would be no return...

Even if the beer was a very well tasting Export Gold in a nice bottle, I didn’t dare to drink all of it because there wasn’t room for a single mistake!