The generator starts promptly at 6:15 am. The clothes we pull on are much damper than we remember removing from the drying room last night. Oh well, they are completely dry compared to the hiking shoes, which have been in the boot room all night. The boot room seems less a drier, and more a humidor… keeping some 47 pairs of shoes a very consistent state of soggy. Actually, Colin and Elleneta’s are quite dry, because guide John told them to sneak their sneakers into the clothes drying room right before the generator shuts off at 10. Left at the normal clothes drying temperature, shoe glue melts and the sole separates from the body. But apparently timed just right, the shoes remain warm and soulful.
Our routine is becoming routine: drink coffee, make lunch, consume breakfast, which this time includes poached eggs and bacon. Today is a relatively flat 13 miles, and the weather seems partly cloudy but dry. We march along the Arthur River towards the dreaded Sandfly Point. These nasty biting creatures are everywhere, and the apparent point of the point’s name makes our destination a bit less desirable.
Water from yesterday’s rain is still pouring out of every nook and cranny. Our first B&B is Dumpling Hut, where we use the bathrooms and fill our bottles.
We press on to the boatshed, where we are served hot drinks of coffee and Milo. Refreshed we make a short jaunt away from sandflies to Mackay Falls. Right next to the falls is Bell Rock, which Terri and I crawl into. It is not until Lewis crawls in with his lit up cell phone, that we can actually see the hollowed out bell shape we are now standing in. One of the guides later tells us the record is 31 people inside the bell. Frankly we felt a bit cramped with just the three of us.
We continue on to Giants Gate falls for lunch. It is cooler than expected, so we quickly scarf our food sitting on a log, within the spray of the falls. We continue on, counting mile markers, past Doughboy, and towards Sandfly Point. We duck into an enclosed shelter for hot drinks, and to escape the biting flies. The former being more successful than the later. In the shelter we find Lewis’ waterbottle, which is actually his friend’s. He has struggled to keep track of it the entire trip, so it seems appropriate that he has gotten off on the first boat without it.
The sandflies at Sandfly Point are apparently on their way to Mitre Peak Lodge, since they all board the boat with us. The Quick ride takes us by Bowen Falls, impressive not only for its beauty, but also because it powers the Milford Sound Electric Company turbine. Unless the water fall shuts off at 10pm, we should have power all night. Given we are on a hiking tour, the bus ride from the dock to the lodge seems ridiculously short, but we take it.
After a quick shower and rest, we head down for our lamb shank dinner. Lewis, who would normally cook this meal, sits with us, ready to be served by his mates. Not surprisingly, they can’t let it go without a bit of fun. Lewis is served a hunk of raw califlower, decorated to look like a lamb. We join in by serving him water from his lost and now found bottle.
After dinner we have a short award ceremony, where names from every nationality are butched more than the lamb.
We retire with electricity, but succumb to fading energy.