The Borland Road to Recovery (Part One) – Borland Rock Bivouac

“On a Mish” #287 The Borland Road to Recovery – Part One. Borland Rock Bivouac. Fiordland National Park. 15.6.2021. I’d be lying if I said there hasn’t been times when I have been completely over having a mangled hip. I am very grateful to be able to do a hell of a lot more than this time last year, but still I get frustrated when I look at what I used to be able to do. My adventure into the East Eglington Valley proved that force it till it fits doesn’t apply with injuries….

In the past on more than one occasion (understatement!) I have over done it, and then spent a night or two on the couch in painful discomfort. My situation could be much, much worse and is far from bad as I have still had the opportunity to head into the hills and recapture the glory that is an adventure in the wilderness, even if I have travelled very far. Heading into the Gulliver Valley deep in the Darran Mountains was at the extreme limits of distance I can hike plus my physical abilities for future forays. The mish was tough but it was definitely worth it!

Now knowing roughly what I am capable of doing, I had an idea of how to plan my next mish so I don’t run myself into the ground.

I rarely visit a hut when in the back country on a mish by myself. Usually if I’m heading to a hut it is the middle of winter or rain is in the forecast, part of my never ending quest to be alone in paradise.

I had a day off work and then started work the next day in the afternoon, so this gave me a window of opportunity to get a mission in. There was rain in the forecast and knowing I would struggle to carry my camping gear at the moment anyway, I had to look to a hut for a mish.

A Swollen Side Stream on the Track to the Rock Bivouac

To be honest a lot of my missions are random adventure idea explosions in my head. Out of nowhere I will think about a certain valley, track or mountain and then it’s on! A quick browse of the map and BOOM!! Borland Rock Bivouac. The walk was within my limits and it would be a shelter in the forecasted rain. It is only 68km from my front door to the Fiordland National Park boundary on the Borland Road. In winter the road is closed at the base of the Hunter Mountains, luckily this is the start of the track to the rock bivvy.

Along with the mighty Darran Mountain Range, the Borland Road and rugged surrounding area was another key factor in my decision to buy a house in Te Anau and plant my roots deep in the lakeside town‘s rich history.

I had a small break in the rain during the afternoon, so I left my house just after lunchtime. Having my windscreen wipers on full power was stretching my faith in the forecast, but as I drove south I got a glimpse of Mt Titiroa(1715m) and mission motivation burst back into life.

This was a redemption trip as I had visited the rock bivvy in 2013 and was savaged by sandflies so much I had to bail on the bivvy and hike out in the dark. A HUGE positive to hiking in Fiordland during the winter is that the cold keeps the sandfly numbers down. The odd sandfly must have a sandfly down jacket, because there is always the odd one though.

I highly recommend a night in a natural rock shelter (rock bivvy). The experience takes you back to the caveman days, apart from the fact that we have modern devices like a lighter and gas cooker that save a ton of time.

Before leaving town I heard that the Glowworm Caves had been closed due to flooding, which I found odd because it didn’t seem like that much rain had fallen in Te Anau? With the clouds lifting and revealing the outstanding mountains of the Hunter Range, I arrived at the car park at the Borland Road gate. With excitement building I sorted my gear and then chucked my pack on my back. As I began my mish I could instantly tell a lot of rain had been falling in Fiordland

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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