The Milford Trail : Day 2

Milford Sound Travel Blog

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Someone was snoring in a ridiculous manner last night. We all know who it was. But he seems adament it wasn´t him. He said he heard the snoring, but he doesn´t know who it is. We do. A longer day today. Only 16km or so but i ain´t exactly practiced at this. A smashing liquid breakfast. 200ml apparently equals 3wheetbix with milk. But i cracked into some muslei bars to be sure. Off i went, at a good speed, and found myself passing everyone at my natural pace. Luckily for us, blue skies had blessed us. The beginning hour and a bit was through forest. Every now and then a break in the tree line would appear and stupendous (oooh fancy) views of cold flowing rivers, green forest and snow capped mountains reaching blue skies would send chills through my body. Then the forest suddenly ended and i was in a valley, flanked by mountains which reached far into the distance and curved to meet each other. It was simply stunning. The sun only began to rise above the mountains peaks as i entered the valley and the explosion of light was dazzling. Turning the lakes and rivers into sparkling bodies of water and highlighting the many waterfalls which crashed down the mountain sides. I rested by a lovely spot on the river bank, which was lined with short trees. I could clearly spot trout and eels drifting with the flow of water. My legs started to grow tired after 3 hours, but my left shoulder especially short due to an old injury. A sign signalled 90minutes approx to go. 60minutes later i found myself alone at the second nights hut. Taking off my backpack was bliss. 12kg or so lighter. My shoulders felt locked in the position they had been for the last 4hours. It was a very strange sensation. Lying down was incredible and i happily tucked into crackers, pita bread with tinned tuna and cold water. The ranger suggested that if it was a clear day, that it would be worth it to do the 3hour return walk to Arthers Pass which is the famous and most beautiful part of the trail. You have to do it on the third/next day as well but you never know what the weather will bring you. 90% of trekkers that season hadn´t been able to see the views when crossing the pass due to the terrible weather. This was enough for me. So as the others arrived, i left. Climbing what i think was about 600metres, up a beautiful winding forest trail. It was very rocky which i like as it is fun to skip over the rocks but it was knackering. I stopped a fair few times to catch my breath, drink some water or snack on a fruit & nut bar. I got a shock at one point as i though i heard a huge crack of thunder, but in actuality it was a rock slide on the mountains opposite me. It was quite spectacular as a whole section gave way and crashed down the mountain side. The noise was incredible. A crack followed by a deep rumbling with echoed beautifully in the valley. As i neared the top i grew excited and anxious to see the views as the sky was beginning to cloud up. I was stunned all the way up at the views on the side i was climbing but i had not really realised about the other side which i was about to see. I ran other the flat narrow pass, and reached the other side where my head was smacked with a shocking sensation of emotion. The views were purely insane. I was standing on this pass, 1100metres or so up, surrounded by the most glorious mountain scenery i have ever witnessed. The rugged mountain tops rose and fell in height, their tops covered in white snow and ice, where multiple waterfalls escaped from, finding their way down the dark rock face. In the base, lay a mixture of rocky terrain, dark green forest and blue rivers. It ain´t something that can be explained properly, by me anyway. It´s known as one of the most beautiful walks in the world and something with that kind of tag has got to be experienced in person. Words, nor pictures are gonna cut it. I was alone of this mountain top and felt like i was alone in the world. Nothing but the wind and the falling water could be heard. It just seemed so wild and epic. I know it´s quite an easy walk and only 50km or so away is civilization but it felt different.  I spent a good while up there, sitting on a rock and falling into daydreams in the sunshine. I went further up to a spot where the views actually became better and lakes rested between the green grass tops. I hurried down the mountain, skipping over rocks as the weather started to turn bad. We have no showers and the water is quite invigorating so me and this English bloke Andrew, who has been working and travelling in New Zealand for 2 years now, went by to a pool of deep water. There was no testing the water, we just counted to three and jumped in. I find it quite unbelievable that water can be that cold. It beat the previous day´s dip. Within half a minute, as i wade through the water to a section of the bank i could climbe out of, my legs actually began to become numb and i could feel pins and needles all over. He whipped out a camera and wanted a picture taken of him freezing in the water, so he went in for a second dip. Needless to say, if he is having one done, i want one as well. So in i went for a second time. I couldn´t believe how cold i felt, but when i started to warm up after drying off and putting on more warm clothes, the feeling was amazing. I felt great. That coupled with a cup of soup and pasta with tomato sauce was incredible. The latter part was given to me by Judi, who wasn´t going to settle for ¨just add water¨kind of meals. She wacked out a red onion, beans, cloves of garlic, paprika and salt from the himalayas! I chatted to Andrew and Adi, an Israeli who was also travelling for a long while in Asia and New Zealand. A real cool chap and wicked to talk to. One of those persons with whom you immediately find it easy and comfortable to hold relatively deep conversations with, talking about pretty much anything and those things which you reserve for your own mind and a select few people. There was none of that conventional, standard bullshit which is sometimes necessary but is often annoying, simply there for formalities and to fill silence. It was a hugely satisfying day. I felt tired but that lovely kind of tired. 10pm but already off to my bunk bed. The snoring bloke chose to sleep in the same dorm as me again. The snoring was ridiculous. It went through phases. From heaving breathing, to snorting and gasping to sounding like constipated duck. It was like he was struggling for air. He must have some kind of problem. The one dutch girl moved out to sleep in the kitchen and noisily huffed and puffed her way out of the room, waking the snoring man who apologied after the dutch girls husband angrily told him off. Me and Adi found it quite funny and couldn´t help but laugh. Weirdly he shifted onto his side and didn´t snore again that night. Well he did but just a regular snore which was very much bearable after his mental demonstration of noise making ability.

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Milford Sound
photo by: genetravelling