Tag Archives: Kepler Track

Hiking New Zealand’s Hardest Hut Trek, the Dusky Track

October 30, 2018  |  In Backpacking, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
A hiker trekking the Dusky Trail in the Pleasant Range, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

Jeff Wilhelm trekking the Dusky Trail in the Pleasant Range, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

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 →

The Big Outside Trip Planner: Trekking New Zealand’s Dusky Track

October 29, 2018  |  In Backpacking, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
A trekker climbing to Centre Pass on the Dusky Track, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

Jeff Wilhelm climbing to Centre Pass on the Dusky Track in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park.

 

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 →

October 15, 2017 On the summit of Mount Luxmore, Kepler Track, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

New Zealand’s Best, Uncomplicated Hut Trek: The Kepler Track

In Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

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 →

April 9, 2015 Summit of Mount Luxmore on the Kepler Track, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

One Photo, One Story: Trekking New Zealand’s Kepler Track

In Backpacking, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   6 Comments

By Michael Lanza

After my friend Jeff Wilhelm and I reached the Luxmore Hut, where we planned to spend the first night of our three-day trek on the Kepler Track in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, we quickly decided there was no way we were just hanging out there for the rest of the afternoon. The sun was shining—which, in Fiordland, is rare enough that a smart trekker takes advantage of it: This corner of the world receives a mind-boggling volume of rain, up to about 400 inches a year, about 10 times as much rainfall as Seattle gets annually. So instead of resting, Jeff and I went for a hike. Continue reading →