Barely Made it to Bealey (Part Three) – Upper Bealey Valley

“On a Mish” #361 Barely Made it to Bealey (Part Three). Bealey Valley. Arthurs Pass National Park. 1.1.2023. If something causes pain you probably shouldn’t do it. However, if doing or not doing will be the difference between being happy or unhappy then isn’t it worth putting up with a little bit of pain? As I dragged myself up into the upper reaches of the Bealey Valley and began to set up my camp for the last day of 2022 I knew I had made the right decision to put up with some pain because I was happy as!

The grand upper valley provided an excellent distraction from the throbbing pain in my hip. The massive uplift of land reminded me of the mountains of Fiordland with everything towering over me apart from the thin strip of valley containing the river. ‘I could be celebrating the New Year somewhere worse’ – more like ‘it would be hard to find a better place!’.

After soaking my feet in the river and a long recovery rest, I started to set up my final camp for 2022.

As I began to get my tent out of its bag I realised that I had left my tent-pegs back at home. Luckily I have camped in many places where pegs have been useless (due to the rocky ground), so this wasn’t any issue at all and I just used rocks to secure everything to the ground.

The very hot afternoon became a warm evening and my job was to simply sit back and watch the light fade on another year. I was surprised and very happy that the hot sun had stopped the sandflies coming out for a chomp. Chilling in the Aotearoa wilderness is epic, and chilling in a remote and wild part of the country and not worrying about sandflies is almost unheard of!

While I set up camp I noticed I had company heading my way in the form of a couple from Germany. The very polite pair were so courteous that they asked if it was ‘ok’ to pass my campsite and head further up the valley. Of course I had no problem with this (plus I have no say of who can and can’t go to the top of the valley!), and the pair pushed on to the very top of the Bealey Valley. The two came back about an hour later with tales of the epicness found at the birthplace of the Bealey River.

I was intrigued about what they had seen, but in the state I was in after the hike there was no way I was going to do any extra hiking than necessary!

The trip up the valley had left me feeling tired and the sun had drained any motivation I might have had to stay up until midnight. After watching the sun paint the sky in sunset colours I went to bed. As it was only 9.30pm I must have been one of the first people to call it a day that evening, but the draining effort was worth it, and I knew the mental benefits would stay with me longer than the pain I was feeling.

2022 was an ‘interesting’ year to say the least, and as I drifted off to sleep to the sound of the Bealey River I wondered what 2023 would bring, and also with my body feeling so sore, how was the walk back to the car going to go?

Upper Bealey Valley Magic

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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