The journey to Milford Sound was mostly one of pleasure, with a little pain on my part due to a slip and fall I had close to our destination. As I write this 11 days afterwards, my leg is still a bit sore and I’ve just started sleeping on my left side again. For those who are interested, or have a morbid curiosity I am going to post a picture of the bruise taken five days after at the end of the post. For those who’d rather not, no worries. You won’t have to look. I’m just kinda proud of my tramping wound.
Have you heard about The Remarkables? Marc had been wanting to see them and we finally got the chance on our way to Milford Sound. They are an unbroken wall of mountains that marches North to South outside Queenstown. While the washboard road and the steepness of the climb slowed us down, we still found a great little lookout about 4 meters up the track and another about 6 up that has a path leading to an awesome 360 degree view. Wow. The floating mountains in the distance were incredible!
The Lake Marian track was a sweet as place to stop and stretch our legs for a short tramp. Between the beautifully lush ferns, mossy trees, swing bridge and class five rapids pulling us onward it was just amazing. Even better, it was a ten minute walk each way.
We stayed at two of the DOC campgrounds outside of Milford Sound. It was actually the first spot we’ve found since we’ve been traveling where we could build a fire at night under the stars. Most everywhere there are bans so it was really nice to enjoy a fire and maybe a little cognac too.We had to make do as we were out of marshmallows.
Our first attempt to get to Milford Sound fell short as we got distracted. We arrived at the Homer Tunnel and parked with the idea of just walking up the path towards the waterfall a short way before continuing on. Instead we saw this huge stone “house” looking jumble in the field and left the path to investigate. It was pretty easy to walk all over the stones in our sandals and we continued up the rock strewn field in the hopes of finding the path again. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the path but as the rock hopping was so much fun and we were getting closer to the waterfall and snow cave at the base, we went on. After reaching the snow cave, I was going to turn back while Marc went on. In the end though, I went up the right side of the snow field and stood atop the cave while he went up the left side and got closer to the falls. The way back is where things got a little tough. I’ve learned, its much easier to climb up than it is to climb down. I’d say I was about halfway back to the rock house when I slipped on some loose shale and fell….on a rock. All I could think about at first was whether I’d broken it. Immediately the back of my thigh was twice it’s size and it felt really bad. I just didn’t want to be the subject of an “Alpine Rescue” episode. It was slow going, but I did make it out in one piece. There’s a picture at the end of what it looked like five days later.
Our second attempt to navigate The Homer Tunnel was successful although I moved slow for about six days afterwards. The first stop on the West side of the tunnel was The Chasm. The Cleddau River gets pinched through deep rocks studded with holes and drops dramatically as it thunders under your feet. Very cool, but TONS of tourists.
Milford Sound itself was quite dramatic.It seems that most people tend to do a cruise or a flight around the Sound, but we wanted the Foreshore Walk. It wasn’t long, but it was pretty and had the advantageous property of showing us where all the driftwood was piled up. This is important when you’re scrounging wood for a fire. Ironically though, it ended up being so windy that evening we enjoyed the fire from inside our camper while marveling at the amount of people trying to fit into The Lake Gun DOC site. My recommendation would be Cascade Creek. Much bigger campground and fewer people trying to shoehorn in.
We headed South after that.Towards Invercargill and Bluff before turning towards the Catlans, but that’s another story and where I will pick up next time on Chasing Summer!
Ok, ready for the injury shot? Right! Here it is then. I’m so glad I didn’t break it.