Barely Made it to Bealey (Part One) – Upper Bealey Valley Camp

“On a Mish” #361 Barely Made to Bealey (Part One). Bealey Valley. Arthurs Pass National Park. 31.12.2022. It is amazing how motivating the wilderness can be. Hiking is a pastime for all ages and abilities, and thanks to both the views and exercise it is something that pleases both the mind and body. I find it motivating in my current state that I have come across ‘very seasoned’ hikers, and in their matured state they can still get out on a track and have a great time. Age or injury doesn’t change the epic scenery or pleasing satisfaction of an outing in the wilderness, so if you really love it you don’t stop doing it…

After having all of my bolts loosened on a mish with my Cousin in his Jimny I needed a break to recover. The side to side and ups and downs of a good 4wd adventure can be very hard on hips and backs, especially if they weren’t in very good shape to begin with! However, the pull of the wild is strong and I knew it would be only a matter of time before I forced myself back into the outdoors.

With 2022 coming to an end I wanted to see in the New Year the right way, and for me that is in the wilderness. Most of my favourite New Years have been when I have gone out on an adventure and woken up in an epic place as the year has changed. Starting the year the right way is key to me, and after a rocky 2022 I wanted to kick off 2023 the right way. I had a quick scan of both the weather and then the topo map, and it looked like a trip to Arthurs Pass would be satisfactory.

Camp in the Upper Bealey Valley

My plan was to hike the short track from the highway into the short and sharp Bealey Valley. According to all the information I had found, the track was about 30 minutes from road to track end. From what I could see on the map the end of the track looked like an incredible place to camp.

Recently I have been going on missions with my gear spread over two packs, so I don’t put too much weight on my hips and back. This has been a great way to still get out into the mountains and go camping. The only downside to the two pack process is it restricts how far you can go due to the fact that you have to hike to a spot twice. On this mish I wanted to test my hip out with a full-ish camping pack on the short Bealey Valley Track.

The weather couldn’t have been better as a large high hung over the South Island, meaning clear skies for the last day of 2022 and sunshine for the first day of 2023.

The drive to Arthurs Pass showed me why we have such a high road toll. On a couple occasions I saw cars / trucks take to the otherside of the road in order to speed up their journey, and many times I saw them just avoid the traffic flying towards them in the other direction.

Somehow I survived the drive and as I drove through a busy Arthurs Pass Village I began to get very excited about the last mish of 2022…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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