Milford Trek, New Zealand - Hiking From Mintaro Hut, MacKinnon Pass, to Dumpling Hut
Buckets of water fell all night long and it was still raining when we woke. So much rain was deluging down that water was pouring out of the rain barrel even though we were actively using plenty of water to cook, clean and flush. It was an “Australian’s dream,” declared one trekker. This was obviously before the floods in Queenstown. The ranger popped his head in to tell us the trail was passable and to head out. “The worst of the rain will arrive at 4 pm,” was all we had to hear to get moving fast. This was a awful day to get terrible weather. It would block any chance of a good view and there were definitely very exposed areas with which to be concerned.
As we approached the pass, the winds picked up to a wicked frenzy. It took twenty minutes to reach the huts. With the wind at full-force, there was no mercy as the hut was locked. The wind thrashed us and our cheap ponchos around like a kite in a hurricane. We tried to regroup and get our ponchos under the backpacks, but it was an exercise in futility. Just as we tucked one section under, the wind whipped it back out. Finally, we helped each other get situated enough to move on, cursing into the wind.
By the time we reach Dumpling Hut there were still no views, but we were just glad to make it only having to traverse calf deep water. Those that reached the shelter later in the day reported knee, thigh and then waist deep water completely covering the trail.
We went to bed early, but I awoke at 3:00 am to a brightly lit room. I ran to the window and saw a clear, glorious sky outside. The moon was shining down upon us and I took some of my first interesting photographs of the trip. I went back to bed, with a calm feeling that we would finally have a good day of hiking.
The next morning we actually walked with the sun. A pleasant easy stroll it was what I had hoped our Milford Trek experience would have been like.
The story continues...