Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Cruising on the Milford Track

I have been perusing photos on my computer this morning trying to find an image which will liven up this post and make it a little more attractive on the eye. Of course some may say that any photo with me in it will never achieve such a goal but here I am on top of the McKinnon Pass in the region of New Zealand they call Southland, three quarters of the way around the Milford Track.

 Linda and I walked the Milford Track in 2009 and I have been roped into returning to the South Island in February next year to do a walk called "The Grand Traverse" which ranges through similar countryside. This is the combination of the Greenstone Track and the Routeburn walk, both popular but in this case they are joined together for a six day, 84 kilometre hike. Linda will not be joining me. She officially retired from tramping after the Milford Track trip. Walking through the wilderness is not her cup of tea.

  The Milford Track is not a hard slog for anyone use to doing a bit of physical activity. The only obstacle of note is the McKinnon Pass and though it is relatively tough going through the foothills and on to the pass itself, anyone with a decent condition should clear it with no problem at all although I must say, I am looking a little haggard in the photo which was taken by my sister after we crested the summit.

 Linda has an allergy when it comes to walking up hills and the McKinnon Pass didn't agree with her at all yet she struggled on and crested the summit in good time. This is a shot of her arriving at our lunch stop on top of the Pass. A great achievement for someone who really wasn't keen on doing the walk.

 One of the guides who was taking us on the trek told us that he had done the Milford Track trip in excess of forty times and this was probably the third instance where the sun was shining and the mountains were clear of frost and fog and the views to the valleys below were clear and the magnificent scenery could be enjoyed in all it's glory. We were lucky.

 The tour group who had passed this way a mere five days before had been forced to endure a deluge in the valley beyond the pass and had to be evacuated due to flooding. Funny how things turn on a dime and we found a small window of perfect weather to enjoy our trek.

The picture to the left is the Milford Track leading down the flip side of the McKinnon Pass. The stone track is cut into the side of the mountain and you can see the trail snaking down the valley in the top left of the photo. This was in fact a landslide zone and I didn't waste any time taking photos while walking through that particular part of the track.  Our lodge was an hour or so further on.

 A great trip and I look forward to traversing that part of the world again February.

 Unfortunately, here in the present, things are rolling along like a deflated tyre, just as they usually are. Work awaits me and another long, boring slog through the day is all I can look forward to.

 I have just finished a course which I did online with the Australian Writer's Centre, a magazine and newspaper writing course which ran over five weeks. It was quite entertaining and informative and I surprised myself by completing all the assignments in the allotted time. A first for me!

 I am not sure if feature writing is my cup of tea. I have no doubt I could do it but interviewing people, sourcing information and talking to magazine and newspaper editors is all a bit too daunting for a social phobic like me. Perhaps I should hire a research assistant? Anyone interested? Can't promise that the pay is going to be any better than what Gina Rhinehart would pay a Chinese coolie but it might be fun. No takers?

Another problem is that for someone who spends half his life daydreaming I seem to be bereft of ideas which may be turned into a feature article. This is where my readers are welcome to help me. If anyone feels they have an idea worth exploring and a publication worth sending it to, drop me a line. I can't promise I will be proactive and write an award winning article but who knows. You may see your idea transferred to print someday. I look forward to your submissions.

 I am going to give myself a one week break and do the Writer's Centre short story course. I think that sort of writing suits my sensibilities more than feature writing. Sharpening one's mind is always good for the soul in any case.

 So, as this dull and dreary Canberra day closes in around us and the chill of winter begins to envelope us, I will once more bid you all good day and wish you all the best until next time. Adieu.

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