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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.

Milford Trek, New Zealand - View from Dumpling Hut

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.

Milford Trek, New Zealand - NIght View from Dumpling Hut

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.

Milford Trek, New Zealand - Final Push

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.

Milford Trek, New Zealand - Early Morning Light   Milford Trek, New Zealand - Early Morning Light

Milford Trek, New Zealand - MacKay Falls
  Milford Trek, New Zealand - Small Waterfall
MacKay Falls (upper left) was roaring from the massive deluge of rain, however, given the poor like it was the less descript waterfall on the side of the trial (upper right) that was more intriguing.

The story continues...