The weather has turned. Before we went to bed last night we saw ominous clouds gathering, and during the night we heard the sound of rain and howling wind. What will the day look like?
It rained and it rained and rained and rained
The average was well maintained
And when the tracks were simply bogs
It started raining cats and dogs.
After a drought of half an hour
We had a most refreshing shower
And then most curious thing of all
A gentle rain began to fall.
Next day was also fairly dry
Save for a deluge from the sky,
Which wetted the party to the skin,
And after that the rain set in.
A Fiordlands Tramper, 1984
Yes, it was very wet, but nonetheless we headed north toward Milford Sound hoping against hope that the weather would turn. The 120 km
Milford Track/drive was, for the first 70 km, like driving
through the foothills of California;
pretty, yes, but not overly spectacular. Ah, but then the road started climbing
up a glacial valley and we were absolutely speechless. Now, I admire Yosemite Valley like any other good Californian, but it
pales in comparison with the valleys of the New Zealand Alps. Out of the mist arose
vertical walls without end, and from each water gushed in a myriad of
waterfalls that hurled vertically unto the valley floor, almost making a
continuous curtain of water on both sides of the valley. Eventually we reached
the cirque, and crossed from the Pacific watershed into the Indian Ocean
watershed through a long tunnel, only to find the same deluge issuing from the
walls of the Milford
valley/fjord. I have never seen so much cascading water in my life!
Dizzy with the spectacle we reached the head of Milford Sound, but shied at taking a cruise down the sound on account of the weather. Instead we had lunch at the Visitors’ Center, played cards for about an hour, and took a nap in our trusty camper van. There was no sign that the rain would abate anytime soon, so we turned around and went through the spectacle of the innumerable waterfalls until we reached the foothills. Here the rain was not as intense, so we found a nice campground and prepared to hole for the night. It turns out that the rain stopped shortly after we arrived, the sky cleared, and we actually had a bit of sun in the late afternoon, which made preparing dinner a lot easier.