Sharing The Peapod's Travel Adventures...

The Pods do the Milford Tramp...Day Four

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This entry was posted on 12/24/2006 4:42 AM and is filed under New Zealand.

Today was going to be a very long and arduous day...13 miles for Mindypod and a surprise 18 miles for Epod...from Quintin Lodge to Mitre Peak Lodge...


Here are the miles of the day - come along for the ride - pretend you're walking them with us...

The Miles of Day 4




We start early again today and are greeted by a beautiful misty morning with on and off rain.  We finally have the opportunity to use the rain gear that we have been carrying.

Pause a moment on this photo for some graphic-fun...



The day starts off looking like this...all misty...




The trail begins by passing the hugely powerful Sutherland Falls, the world's fifth highest waterfall at 1904 ft. tall. 





From there we do another descent down a rocky hill known as Gentle Annie.  Here the track flattens out a little and walking becomes a bit easier as we enter the lush green rainforest.



The rain had stopped by now so we packed up our rainjackets and enjoyed the walk in the cloudy cool day.

Here's a few moments of quiet in the forest for you...

Gentle Brook Moments




After passing the 23 mile marker the track breaks into the open and runs for a straight section know as the Race Course, because the early packhorses used to try to pass each other along it.



We have morning tea break at the Boatshed, built in 1928 the house boats used to move supplies up from Lake Ada.

After Boatshed we cross the Arthur River by swingbridge and next see Mackay Falls, a stunning waterfall in one of New Zealand's wettest areas.  The Mackay falls is the photo used in all the "100% Pure New Zealand" advertisements.

Here's the movie  (the fuzziness in the middle is not the fault of the camera or a trick of the light - it is actually because there is so much mist in the air from the power of the waterfall)...

Mackay Falls



Here's Mackay Creek, in movie and still photo form...

The Roaring Mackay Creek



And another fabulous view of the creek...



Next to it is Bell Rock, a hollowed out boulder that we could stand inside and not touch the top - hollowed out by the action of a waterfall.  Evelyn is actually standing inside this rock and not able to reach the ceiling!








The rest of the walk was in the lush rainforest.  On this side of the pass, average rainfall is about 7 meters a year - on the east side of the pass, it's about 2 meters a year.  Note the use of the word METER.  Imagine if we measured rainfall where we live in yards - not inches - and you get the idea of how much rain there is here.  In fact, the beautiful weather we had on our trek - virtually 3 days of sun (20 minutes of rain in all perhaps) was like a mini-drought for them here.





The ferns were magnificent and lush...



Many of the tree trunks were covered with brilliant green moss...



We passed the Giant's Gate Falls and the mighty roar was deafening.

Giants Gate Waterfall

We were about 4 miles from the end of the Track when we realized that we needed to hurry up in order to catch the last ferry over to Milford.  Otherwise we'd need to wait another 2 hours to catch the next one. 
Mindy started semi jogging and Evelyn followed.  This would not have been possible with our tired feet had it not been for the use of our walking poles and foot fleece, which really made a tremendous difference.  Walking with poles is kind of like cross-country skiing, using your arms almost as much as your legs.

Our packs felt heavier than before and we set about breaking our prior speed records.  At long last we arrived at Sandfly Point just as the ferry was about to depart.  (The final stretch of the track follows tranquil Lake Ada to Sandfly Point where the Maori goddess Te Hine-nui-te-po released the sandfly to stop men lingering too long in the beauty of Fiordland.)

E-Pod reached for her camera to take a last photo of this finish plaque and lo and behold, it was gone.  You can't tell from looking at this photo how miserable she felt about having lost it.



This was her new camera from Hong Kong with all the Milford photos on it.  It must have fallen out when the Pods started their last run to the ferry dock.  Or did it fall off on the side of the trail where many pit stops were made?

Mindypod reluctantly got on the ferry carrying both the packs and Epod headed back down the trail in search of her beloved camera.  Singing the song "Oh Camera, where are you?" I nearly ran back down the trail looking from side to side...



The trail gods were kind and 2.5 miles back, Brian, from the last group, had found the camera on the trail and was holding it up.  What a blessing!  Here's my hero Brian and his Mom Patricia...



So Epod shouldered Brian's Mom's pack and happily walked back to the ferry dock adding another 5 miles to her journey that day, ever so grateful that she had found her camera.

And if that wasn't enough, here's the final coup de grace of the day.  While waiting for the last group to come in, she had a nice chat with the ferry boat driver and told him of her experience in Russell when she was invited to drive the boat. 

So when this ferry left the dock he asked her if she wanted to pilot it in.  And that's what happened.  Drove it all the way across the water to Milford Sound and once again had a beautiful, gentle docking experience.  Mindy was waiting at the dock and couldn't believe it when she saw her Pod piloting and docking the ferry.  Two times in one trip.  Who would believe it!!!!  Here's Captain Evelyn... (and here's a movie: EJ and her second boat skippering )



And that evening at Mitre Peak Lodge we were given our certificates of completion.  It was a fun celebration with our 3 loyal guides happily posing for photos with us...

Here's a very fun little movie of the Certificate Celebration (our friends Pamela and Mark are in the middle of the movie of the pods too - because they were so cute and because all of us wish we had someone to carry us up piggyback - we were all so sore and in pain)...

The Presentation of the Completion Certificates






 

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Comments

    • 12/28/2006 7:40 AM Kenny wrote:
      Yo Great blog but no luck with the film of Evil driving the boat. Link does not work, doesn't go to film. Love you guys!! K $
      Reply to this
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