Okay, day 3 and McKinnon pass…

cold, wet, windy at the top

We tried to get up there before the rain began, but we didn’t quite get that done.  There was a hut at the top, a very welcome hut where we made coffee and ate a snack.

us (and 38 of our closest friends) at the warming hut atop the pass

When we took off after our break, we were at a run, backpacks and all, for about a half-mile to get out of the sideways rain, so we didn’t get our panorama shot, but it was beautiful in spite of it.

Jesse didn't want to get lost...

We were pretty saturated by the time we got off the hill, and had another 6 miles or so to go.  We took a little side trip of an hour or so to see the beautiful Sutherland Falls – Jesse, Sam and Laura crossed the river and stood behind the falls, but there’s no pictorial evidence, because my phone resides in a ziplock bag when it’s wet out – why does the lady who does every outdoor experience possible NOT have a waterproof digital camera????

soggy but happy

On the Milford Track, there are two types of tramping that you can register for:  the Independent Hikers option, which gave us a bunk in the huts each of three nights, and cost about $100, and includes the bus/ferry rides in and out, and the Guided Walkers option, which gives walkers a hotel-type room, hot showers, breakfast/lunch/dinner prepared daily for the economical fee of FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS!!  (That’s in NZ dollars, which is about the same as US $)!  So of course, we independent trampers used every opportunity to pat ourselves on the back for our wise financial decision while we pretended to enjoy our freeze-dried chicken teriyaki.

My Inglorious Basterds

These boys are Dore, Ben, and Dechell – our Israeli friends I mentioned earlier.  We fell in love with these boys; the morning we woke up after leaving the Track, Sam said “It’s just not the same without hearing bickering in Hebrew”.  We hiked with them on and off most of the trail, and we all hope to cross their paths at another time.

The evening of day three we stayed at the Dumpling Hut, with Blaine as our Ranger Host.  There was a wood-burning stove in the common room and there were clothes draped on every possible surface.

38 soggy hikers' clothes

Okay, that takes us to the final day, day 4 and the hike out.  Check back for the last installment of our Tramping experience.

Thanks for reading!