Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Milford Track

Here is an update to my initial post on New Zealand.

Milford Track
Originally uploaded by nzimages

The highlight of the trip is our first adventure, the Milford Track. This 4 day hike is the most popular in NZ and is restricted to 90 people starting per day.  You have to stay in huts along the track in your reserved day, and there is no camping allowed. Average overnight temperatures will be around 35F while we are there.

Here's a quote from the track brochure:
Centred at latitude 45o south, Fiordland National Park lies in an area of predominately westerly airstreams, known as the Roaring 40s, delivering high rainfall and changeable weather patterns to the area. Cold temperatures, snow, strong winds and heavy rain can occur at any time of the year.

Day 1 - 3 miles, ascend ~150 feet, 1 to 1.5 hour.
Day 2 - 10.3 miles, ascend ~1150 feet, 5 to 6 hours.
Day 3 - 8.7 miles, ascend 1600 feet, descend 3180 feet, 6 to 7 hours; plus 3 (?) mile side trip to Sutherland Falls (1.5 hours) for total ~11.5 or 12 miles, 7.5 to 8.5 hours.
Day 4 - 11.2 miles, descend ~650 feet, 5.5 to 6 hours, catch 2 pm Ferry

Here in our tame Shenandoah mountains, our typical one-day hikes are:
10 miles, ascend 2000', descend 2000', 5 hours 

Our typical two-day backpacking trips are:
Day 1: 8 miles, ascend 2000', 5 hours
Day 2: 10 miles, descend 2000', 5 hours

All of my backpacking trips have been two days.  I have no idea how my body will deal with 3 and 1/2 days of difficult hiking.  Luckily we won't be carrying tents or sleeping bags, so our packs will be lighter than usual.  I am really worried about Day 3, a steep decline I have never seen the likes of before.  And the last day has a deadline!   I just hope that pain and exhaustion will not make me miss the scenery. 

Our last major hike was 2 and 1/2 months ago and I am feeling out of shape.  Sure, I have been going to the gym but nothing beats the real thing.  We have had an unusually cold winter and the trails are treacherous because the snow has not melted yet.  If the weather cooperates, we will be out there!

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