Thursday, December 18, 2014

Milford Track. The descent from MacKinnon Pass

Each day on the track, Ultimate Hikes sets out an array of ingredients for lunch. Before descending from MacKinnon Pass, Meg and I enjoyed our sandwiches at a warming hut at the top.  One of the guides kept hot water going, so one had a wide choice of drinks.

Leaving the hut, we were hit by a strong wind that diminished as we dropped into the canyon below. Avalanche danger still existed on the standard descent--we heard one that sounded like a sudden resonating clap of thunder. So, we were required to take the "emergency route," a one mile trail where each step was over/on top of/between rocks and trees, and dropped us one to two feet for each step.  Fortunately, our hiking poles kept us steady, but we were sore by the end of the day.

We stayed at Quintin Lodge, in the heart of Fiordland's mountains. Sutherland Falls, the highest in New Zealand and fifth highest in the world, stunned us with its size and volume.  If you saw Hobbit 1, the movie ends with the giant eagles flying over these falls. The top of the falls and its drop was filmed by helicopter and the eagles digitally inserted.  You can see this scene on You Tube.

Descent from MacKinnon Pass

Falls, Roaring Burn (river)

Sutherland Falls

Sutherland Falls

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