Tag Archives: Milford_Track

Small steps of love

Isaiah_35_1_image_picture, saiah_35_2_image_picture, Hells_Canyon, Wallowa_County Once again, Henri Nouwen provides his challenging insights into how even small steps of loving moves us into God’s light.

“How can we choose love when we have experienced so little of it?  We choose love by taking small steps of love every time there is an opportunity.  A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, a phone call, a card, an embrace, a kind greeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand, a present, a financial contribution, a visit …  all these are little steps toward love.

Each step is like a candle burning in the night.  It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness.  When we look back after many small steps of love, we will discover that we have made a long and beautiful journey.”  Henri Nouwen

Isaiah_35_3_picture_image, Isaiah_35_3_picture_image, Milford_Track, McKinnon_Pass

a choice we make every day

“Joy is not the same as happiness.  We can be unhappy about many things, but joy can still be there because it comes from the kmowledge of God’s love for us.  We are inclined to think that when we are sad, we cannot be glad, but in the life of a God-centered person, sorrow and joy can exist together….Joy does not simple happen to us.  We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.  It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us.”  Henri Nouwen

I selected this reading to challenge myself as I struggle through the throes of a nasty cold—seven days and I am still in a continuing low fever, an off and on cough, a sore throat.  The doctor has seen me and I have an antibiotic, I am drinking lots of liquids, resting/sleeping/staying home, praying. So far, nothing has suddenly changed, and I really do not expect to.  I know I must wait patiently upon the Lord. Yet I realize I am still so wrapped up in myself, not God.  I want to be well and have my “old” life back. Exactly what God will never give me. Nouwen’s prayer is so appropriate:  “let me die to the desire to choose my own way and select my own desire. You do not want to make me a hero, but a servant who loves you.”

Milford_Track, Clinton_river_NZ

What is the basis of our security?

“What is the basis of our security? When we start thinking about that question, we may give many answers: success, money, friends, property, popularity, family, connections, insurance, and so on. We may not always think that any of these forms the basis of our security, but our actions or feelings may tell us otherwise. When we start losing our money, our friends, or our popularity, our anxiety often reveals how deeply our sense of security is rooted in these things.

A spiritual life is a life in which our security is based not in any created things, good as they may be, but in God, who is everlasting love. We probably will never be completely free from our attachment to the temporal world, but if we want to live in that world in a truly free way, we’d better not belong to it. “You cannot be the slave both of God and of money” (Luke 16:13).” Henri Nouwen

Sperry_Chalet, Glacier_National_Park


Gratitude and Prayer

“Gratitude is not only the posture of praise, but it is also the basic element for belief in God.

“When we bow our heads in gratitude, we acknowledge that the works of God are good. We recognize that we cannot, of ourselves, save ourselves. We proclaim that our existence, and all its goods come not from our own devices but are part of the works of God. Gratitude is the alleluia of existence, the praise that thunders through the universe as tribute to the ongoing, everlasting presence of God.”
Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, NZ

“We must learn to pray out of our weaknesses, so that God can become our strength.”  from Joan Chittister

Clinton River, New Zealand, Milford Track

We are a container holding His Presence

“As I grew older, I recognized this inner presence as a dynamic source of guidance and consolation. I became even more rooted in the belief that this indwelling God loves me totally and unconditionally.  To this day I draw comfort and courage from the belief I am a container holding the presence of God. This awesome and humbling gift of the Divine Indwelling constantly enlivens my spiritual path and seeds my transformation.”  Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Our Life

When I  hold and alive this insight, each moment of my life takes on new meaning.

Milford Track

God walks with us

“God, so it seems, inserted himself in our tiresome and often exhausting journey and became a fellow traveler…. He came to us because he wanted to join us on the road, to listen to our story, and to help us realize that we are not walking in circles but moving towards the house of peace and joy.

This is the great mystery of Christmas that continues to give us comfort and consolation: we are not alone on our journey.  The God of love who gave us life sent his only Son to be with us at all times and in all places, so that we never have to feel lost in our struggles, but can always trust that he walks with us.”  Henri Nouwen

The Milford Track

The Milford Track: Day Three on the trail and Milford Sound

The third (last) day on the trail led us 13.5 miles from Clinton Lodge. Contending with sore muscles from the MacKinnon pass ascent/descent, we still let ourselves be immersed in the dense greens of trees and moss, and the deep blue green waters of streams and waterfalls.  Sunshine followed us for the first time on the hike, creating less drama than we had experienced in the mist.

We reached Sand Fly point on the far side of Milford Sound by mid afternoon. Aptly named, these tiny, tiny flies feasted on unprotected skin. A boat transported us to Mitres Peak Lodge, one of the “best view” lodgings we have enjoyed anywhere.

The Ultimate Hikes’ experience includes an excellent boat trip in the Milford Sound. The Sound’s geology is fascinating, starting 400 million years ago with tall mountains rising as tectonic plates collided.  They rose, fell, rose again.  Most recently, these volcanic formations were subjected to an ice age which left the sharpness and ruggedness that only glaciers can create.

View from Clinton_Lodge, Ultimate_Hikes

Arthur River


MacKay_Falls, Milford_Track, Ultimate Hikes

Giants_Gate_Falls, Milford Track

Milford_Sound, Mitres_Peak_Lodge

Mires_Peak, Mires_Peak_Lodge, Milford_Sound, Ultimate_Hikes

Milford Sound

Stirling_Falls, Milford_Sound

Stirling_Falls, Milford_Sound

Lady_Bowen_Falls, Milford_Sound, Ultimate_Hikes

Milford Track. The descent from MacKinnon Pass

Each day on the track, Ultimate Hikes sets out an array of ingredients for lunch. Before descending from MacKinnon Pass, Meg and I enjoyed our sandwiches at a warming hut at the top.  One of the guides kept hot water going, so one had a wide choice of drinks.

Leaving the hut, we were hit by a strong wind that diminished as we dropped into the canyon below. Avalanche danger still existed on the standard descent–we heard one that sounded like a sudden resonating clap of thunder. So, we were required to take the “emergency route,” a one mile trail where each step was over/on top of/between rocks and trees, and dropped us one to two feet for each step.  Fortunately, our hiking poles kept us steady, but we were sore by the end of the day.

We stayed at Quintin Lodge, in the heart of Fiordland’s mountains. Sutherland Falls, the highest in New Zealand and fifth highest in the world, stunned us with its size and volume.  If you saw Hobbit 1, the movie ends with the giant eagles flying over these falls. The top of the falls and its drop was filmed by helicopter and the eagles digitally inserted.  You can see this scene on You Tube.

Descent from MacKinnon Pass

Falls, Roaring Burn (river)

Sutherland Falls

Sutherland Falls

The Milford Track. Day 2: MacKinnon Pass Ascent

The second day on the Milford Track, although just nine miles, was the most challenging.  Between start and finish, Meg and I would ascend 2400 feet over MakKinnon Pass and then and descend 2800 feet, all in less then six miles. The weather began with a light rain, creating large numbers of water-wonderfalls. The the mist encompassed us as we began upwards on a rocky trail.  We felt that we were following the path of Bilbo and the Dwarves as they traveled to the Misty Mountains.

The New Zealand government commissioned Quintin MacKinnon in 1888 to push through a track so that tourists could travel from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound. Despite torrential rain, alternating with hot days, he succeeded in October, 1888.

The route is majestic and magical, rated one of the best in the world. The clouds cleared slightly at the top, treating Meg and me to breathtaking, other worldly views.

The descent is another story, and will be taken up in another post.

Meg in rain, after leaving Pamplona Lodge

Ascent to MacKinnon Pass

Hiker in the mist

Where are Bilbo and the Dwarves?

MacKinnon memorial

MacKinnon Pass

MacKinnon Pass