“A Mish a Day” #139 Hut Creek – Part Two. Earl Mountains. Fiordland National Park. 23.1.2013. Visiting Hut Creek with a backdrop of blue skies and sunshine caused an instant bond with the area, and I knew this wouldn’t be my only mish into the Earl Mountains.
An early-ish start was needed the next morning to avoid the approaching Fiordland rain, as Hut Creek was not a good place to be trapped during a storm. As I began to sort my gear I heard swarrrrking and saw the bush rustle as two Weka battled each other. Jealous of their epic home I packed up quickly, and with the skies darkening I had a muesli bar breakfast on the move. I started with morning legs straining under the weight of my pack, but in no time I found my rhythm and made good progress down the valley. Before re-entering the forest I took one last look back at the area I had called home for a single night. I could see grey clouds, so dark they were almost black, engulfing the peaks at the head of the valley, and this made me quicken my pace towards the safety of my car. The beech forest did its best to shelter me from the pre-storm drizzle and I knew now I wouldn’t be back at my car before the angry sky released its watery deluge on the Earl Mountains.
The rain was in full force by the time I got to the crossing of Mistake Creek, and as I lowered myself off the crumbly river bank down to the stream, the branch I was holding onto broke. I suddenly found myself flying backwards towards the river… splash! The river wasn’t very deep, but it was swift and I rolled around in the water before regaining my feet and standing up. My bag cushioned my fall into rocks on the riverbed and I got through the ordeal without any injuries. As you can imagine I wasn’t very happy at the extremely wet situation I was in, and a few angry four letter words were exchanged with the tree and the victorious river. Luckily, I always cover myself for Fiordland rain (literally), and have everything in dry bags inside my backpack, as well as two pack covers on the outside. However I wasn’t very dry now, quite the opposite. Soaked to the bone, and lucky to be close to the end of the mish, I quickly made my way along the last 20 minutes of the hike in the rain back to my car. A quick check revealed my camera hadn’t gone for a swim, so at least I had the pictures from my epic night up Hut Creek. Now getting a little bit cold, I was happy to change into dry clothes before the trip back down the Milford Road with the heater on full blast! Hut Creek may have had the last laugh on this adventure, but it was going to take more than a soaking to keep me away from the epic mission potential of the Earl Mountains!