Tag Archives: Fiordland National Park
By Michael Lanza
We step out of the Lake Roe Hut into a persistent drizzle, deep in what may be the most dishonestly named mountains in the world—the Pleasant Range in New Zealand’s chronically soggy Fiordland National Park. Belligerent gusts hurl cups of water into our faces. By the time my friend, Jeff, and I have taken our first 50 steps on the Dusky Track, we have both sunk knee-deep a dozen or more times into some of the heaviest, gloppiest, boot-suckingest mud that I have ever mired a leg in.
Garbed head to toe in rain shells, gaiters, gloves, and waterproof, leather boots, we hike across an almost treeless landscape, the “trail,” such as it is, intermittently fading into a sea of knee-high grass. Boggy tussock masquerades as earth, but the ground seems more liquid than solid: Excavate and wring out a cubic meter of it, and I’d bet my wide-brim, Gore-Tex hat you could fill a bathtub. Our mode of travel falls somewhere between walking on water and wading through land. Continue reading →
Welcome to The Big Outside’s Trip Planner for trekking hut to hut on the Dusky Track in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park.
This trip planner describes how to plan and execute a hut-to-hut trek on “New Zealand’s hardest hut trek,” the 52.2-mile (84k) Dusky Track in Fiordland National Park, and shorter trips on sections of it. This planner includes tips on the best season, local travel logistics, booking huts, difficulty, and safety. See my story at The Big Outside about my trip, “Hiking New Zealand’s Hardest Hut Trek, the Dusky Track,” which includes dozens of photos. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Can travel “change your life?” How many experiences have such an enormous impact? I can name several that shifted my perspective, or expanded how I view the world and other people. Exploring the surreal landscapes of Iceland and Patagonia. Walking among Earth’s highest mountains in Nepal, through remote villages where people live much as their ancestors did for centuries. Immersing myself in the mountain culture on hut treks in the Alps like the Tour du Mont Blanc (photo above). And seeing unforgettable places like Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park, Italy’s Dolomites, and Alaska’s Glacier Bay through the unclouded eyes of my kids. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
The forecast for New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park looks particularly grim, even for this chronically wet region that receives more than 30 feet of rainfall annually—or about 10 times as much rain as Seattle. A “Southwesterly,” a fierce and not uncommon type of storm that blows in from the Southern Ocean off Antarctica and can offload several inches of rain, will slam into Fiordland’s mountains and fjords over the next couple of days. With that kind of forecast, locals just hunker down indoors and wait it out what they refer to as a “weetha bum” (Kiwi for “weather bomb”). My friend, Jeff, and I, however, are going hiking. Continue reading →
[Note: This blog post of an email exchange reveals the story of a reader who experienced a traveler’s nightmare in a foreign country. Her cautionary tale offers valuable advice for anyone who travels internationally.]
We are planning a hut-to-hut trip in the Dolomite Mountains this summer and I was wondering if you could give advice on travel insurance. When we went to Patagonia last year, I didn’t even think about it, but a doctor friend of mine recently highly recommended some sort of travel medical insurance for when we do hiking trips abroad. I know you do a lot of international hiking trips with your family, so it’d be great to hear your thoughts and experience! Continue reading →