Saturday, 15 April 2017
We booked this trip the moment bookings were open, which was getting up to a year ago now. The Milford and Routeburn Tracks both get sold out instantaneously - so we were lucky we all (ten of us) made it! Each day during the walking season 40 ‘freedom’ walkers like us start - and 60 ‘guided’ walkers start. The guided walkers have their own fancy huts with actual beds and all their food supplied. The difference in price is huge ($150 vs $2050), however if you haven’t been able to get a booking then the guided walk might be your only option. Back in the olden days the only way to do the Milford Track was on one of the guided walks, so us freedom walkers are really benefitting from the many years of track building that went on before the park was opened up to non-guided walkers.
The boat trip up the lake took about an hour. The scenery was pretty nice.
After disembarking we set off up a wide flat track through ferny beech forest with some open grassland patches and past the first of the guided walkers huts. We couldn't help but notice the lovely looking beds made up inside the hut (against the windows), complete with pillows and sheets.
About a kilometre further up the path we crossed our first of many swingbridges..
and about 45 minutes later we rolled into our first hut, thankfully just before some heavy rain.
The first day’s walk was only 4.5km - so short enough to not feel exhausted, but long enough to remind ourselves of the feeling of walking with big packs. I went to sleep with a smile on my face as I dreamt of what we had to look forward to on the rest of the walk (and possibly also because Clare gave me a sleeping pill so that I could fall asleep before the snorers all started shaking the walls).