Lake Marian, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

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Lake Marian, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

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Hiking

Lake Marian, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

-44.7860174°S, 168.0754035°E

Posted on May 26, 2019 by Ryan and Danielle

What happened?

 On April 25, around 1400, my friend Danielle and I walked from Gunn’s Camp to the beginning of the Lake Marian track. We expected a 30 minute walk, but Google Maps was accidentally set to driving instead of walking. So, we arrived much much later than expected, closer to 1630. Not wanting to have wasted all that time by just turning around, and objectively thinking we would have enough light, we began the trek up. We had a travel guide for the South Island that said the track was  just a 2 hour return. The DOC sign at the beginning said 3 hours, but in my experience every 3 hour return has taken 2. However, it eventually became clear that it was taking longer than we expected. However, we continuously thought “it’s been longer than expected, so we MUST be really close, so might as well go a little longer and get to the end.” We got to Lake Marian (where the fog was so dense we couldn’t even see it), took a picture to immortalize our utter disappointment, turned around, and began hiking back down. After about half an hour into our return, we began using our torches to see, as the sun had set and the remaining light was smothered by the dense fog and canopy of trees. Despite being able to see well enough with the torches, we reached a point where simply could not find where the path went. We spent about half an hour searching for it, always returning to the part of the true path that we came from before testing another route down. By the time all those attempts reached dead ends, the bit of light provided by dusk was fading fast. Realizing that we were certainly not going to be getting down that night, and we were certainly not prepared for a night in the freezing rain, we decided to go back the way we knew to Lake Marian and activate the PLB. (We figured the lakeside was open to the sky and would therefore be more ideal for a helicopter). At 1920, we attempted to activate the PLB, and waited three hours. It was only at 2240, when we figured help should have been there by then, that we thought to restart it. That is when we correctly activated it for the first time. We had prepared well for our anticipated 3 to 4 hour excursion in the rain, but it had been 9 at that point. We found a porta loo near the lake and used it as shelter until search and rescue found us at around 4:30 in the morning, April 26. Their warm clothes were a blessing, though i struggled to put them on because I was shaking so badly. They kindly showed us the way down and drove us to our campsite. 

Words of wisdom

  

Always check with local knowledge before going on a hike.

Don’t prepare for your expected trip, prepare for the worst case scenario. 

It’s never too late to turn around.

Thank you note

Thank you so much for your help.

Rescue location

Lake Marian, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Rescue team

Local Search and Rescue

ResQLink™

Go to product details

It may be small, but it's tough. The ResQLink™ PLB Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a GPS-enabled rescue beacon that's suited for outdoor adventures of all sizes (think: everything from hiking and cycling to hunting and fishing). Should you run into an unexpected situation, the ResQLink PLB will relay your location to a network of search and rescue satellites. PLBs have helped save thousands of people's lives. This Product Has Been Discontinued.    WARNING: PROP 65    

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