The Anti-Minimalist Approach to Walking The Most Beautiful Walk in The World
The following is a true story. Nobody was (seriously) hurt in the making of this adventure, they just left feeling very very tired.
It was February 2005. We had just arrived in New Zealand from Australia and my husband and I couldn’t believe our eyes. It was beautiful … no stunning. We packed lightly since the main purpose of our trip was to walk what has been coined the most beautiful walk in the world, the Milford Track.
Now when I say we packed lightly, it was light … for us … at the time.
We were well into photography as a hobby at this point. If New Zealand was half as beautiful in person as it appeared through pictures on the Internet we didn’t want to miss a thing. So you guessed it, we each took our cameras (turned out to be 3 between us), we each took a tripod, and we also really stocked up on film. Our photography equipment alone weighed several pounds.
Clothing is the area I thought we did rather well in, but yes we still over-packed. We had a couple of changes of clothes, hiking boots and sandals, bathing suits, hats, raincoats and rain pants, pajamas and I think that was about it. Believe it or not we actually used out bathing suits on the hike. There was a glacier fed stream that ran past one of our stop points. It was freezing cold … like freezing cold … but so totally worth it. We soaked our exhausted over heated bodies and our blister ridden feet and it felt like heaven for the minute and a half that we could bear the cold.
Food wise we overdid it a bit as well. We packed everything from cheese and crackers to dehydrated noodles and kielbasa we also included oatmeal packets and granola bars. Oh and I forgot to mention the 4 L bag of wine we stashed away in my husband’s backpack. You know the boxed wine you can buy in the stores? Well it was one of those just taken out of the box, because obviously it would have been absurd to carry the unnecessary box, I mean every ounce counts right?
Despite being incredibly over packed for a 4 day hike up one side of a mountain and back down the other it was a time we’ll never forget. About the middle of our walk we swore we would never do this again. By the end we were mutually agreeing that we would one day start the walk over again with our kids.
Next time of course we would pack a little lighter, only to make carrying that 4L bag of wine a little more tolerable :) That’s the one thing we won’t cut out. The wine was so lovely to look forward to at the end of each day of hiking and to share a nice little toast between the two of us made this time even more special.
The next time I embark on an epic climb , I will definitely aim for a minimalist experience (… stop laughing! For a girl from the Canadian prairies a slight rise in elevation can leave you winded … so yes this was epic ). No tripods, no big bulky cameras with film, no extra outfits or sandals. Most of the clothes I’ll have will be those already on my back and the rest will be at the end of the trail waiting for me to slip into and relax.
So this my friends is how we ignored the best practices and advice from the seasoned professionals and did a 4 day hike our own way.