The Milford Track is the most famous of New Zealand’s spectacular Great Walks. I was lucky enough to do four of the famed walks, but Milford certainly held something special.
On the third day, I arrived at Dumpling Hut at the base of Mackinnon Pass with wet feet and tired legs. The weather wasn’t particularly good but a brave few set off to the top of the Pass, hundreds of meters overhead. I opted for a nap and the opportunity to let my boots dry a bit. By the time I woke, it was getting late in the day and most of the hikers had returned. I wanted to ask them how it had gone, but from the look on their faces I knew the clouds hadn’t cleared. Undeterred, I strapped on my own boots and raced for the top.
It was a long slog with tired legs but as I reached the top of Mackinnon’s Pass, the clouds began to rise. As I sat at the top of the Pass, I uncorked my bottle of wine and watched as the sun splashed down onto the floor of the Arthur Valley.
With the help of my headlamp, I picked my way back down to Dumpling Hut. I snuck inside the hut without anyone noticing and sat with my prized photos of the valley. The next day, everyone pushed over the Pass, but unfortunately, you couldn’t see more than a few feet in every direction. On that trip, the Arthur Valley was all mine.