The Milford Track: Not a walk in the park

Described in its fancy brochure as "the finest walk in the world", this four day hike in Fjordland National Park on the South Island of New Zealand is indeed spectacularly beautiful. The brochure shows a flat wide path with two hand-holding honeymooner types smiling and strolling along. Must have been taken during the first mile! Indeed, the first mile and the last mile are fairly flat and wide. In between it is quite different; it could have been designed by a sadistic Marine drill sergeant!

If you are on the guided walk, you will stay in a series of cabin-like houses with a big dining room and bunk rooms that hold four to six people. Dinner is served one course at a time, at a set hour, such as 6 pm. Lots of "good plain food" that the hikers gobble up as if they have been walking for a week, not a day. No vending machines.. if you miss dinner it is a long time to breakfast.

If you are in very good condition you will think this is the finest walk in the world. Our guide suggested that the way to get in condition is to put on the 20 pound or so pack you will be carrying, plus your boots and other gear, and get on the step machines in a gym. Do this every day until you can go for an hour without stopping and three hours with brief rests. Then you are ready for the Milford Track.

(sung to a tune vaguely related to "Walk on By")

Oh, we went a walkin' on the Milford Track
Over 33 miles and that's a fact
Had a guide and her name was Sue
Told us there was only one thing to do:
	Just walk on through,
	Come rain or shine
	If the track is muddy or the track is fine
	Just walk on through,
	And get your dinner!

Oh, the first mile is just like they show
On the fancy brochure they send you
It's flat and wide enough for two
To amble along nice and slow
So stroll on through, just stroll on through
The Glade House awaits you,
Just stroll on though, and get your dinner.

On the second day, it began to rain
And the water came to the top of our boots
So many waterfalls they don't have names
And the blisters came up and started the pain
So wade on through, just wade on through
To finish in time to get your dinner!

Oh, it rained some more, then it rained some more
And the streams, they got to knee high
and the good ole' Goretex is no darned good for
When the water's on the inside
So wade on though,  though there's a bridge out
Just wade on though, and get your dinner!

On the third day it's up and down all the way
Through the famous MacKinnon Pass
Twelve long switch-backs to climb up
Then the hard part- slip and slide down the rest of the day
So climb on through, just climb on through
Don't look down or your heart will stop
Just climb on through, if you want your dinner.

On the last day it's 13 miles
To get to where the boat waits
The last boat leaves at 4 o'clock
After that you can jump off the rocks
And swim to dinner
So swim on through, just swim on through...

Anybody want to finish this?

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