Forced to Work (Part Two) – The Mingha River

“On a Mish” #358 Forced to Work (Part Two). Mingha River. Arthurs Pass National Park. 16.11.2022. The lure of adventure is so powerful to me that I will endure some pain just to get out and about. The rewards of a clear head and vision of nothing but stunning scenery make the ordeal worth it in a big way. With my current ailments I usually use all my energy reserves getting to my campsite and once there I need a good rest. However, on this mission I was going to meet a few of the valley’s locals and until the sun went down, they ‘forced me to work’…

On my way back for my second pack I bumped into a solo tramper heading up Edwards Valley. At first, he was a little bit confused as he wondered where the guy with the red pack had gone? I had to explain my two-pack system and how I had hurt my hip and couldn’t carry much weight on my back. After a classic hiking chat, (when each person wanted to get on with the task at hand) we parted ways, and then I continued back to my car.

The second reccy up the valley reinforced how epic the Mingha Valley (and its surrounding mountains) really is and confirmed that going ‘On a Mish’ was a very good idea. With mountains surrounding my campsite I really was in high hill heaven and now it was time to kick back and enjoy the views…

As soon as I stopped moving the sandflies began to chomp.

A light rain made its way into the valley, and this meant I was continuously eaten for the rest of the afternoon, due to how the sandfly (Te Namu) gets hungry just before the rain sets in. They certainly didn’t want me to relax, so thanks to them, I was forced to keep working / moving until the sun came down. Afternoon rolled on into the evening and as the air chilled, the sandflies finally gave me a break.

To avoid being a sandfly’s next meal I had to keep on the move, so this meant slowly wandering about exploring the area around my campsite and making my temporary home as comfortable as possible. I also used the time to build a small rock wall around my tent which kept it protected from the breeze coming down the valley.

Early-ish the next morning I was up looking at an incredible sunrise and I wasn’t alone. Chomp, chomp, chomp. My time in the valley was coming to a bloody end. For those of us who have dealt with Te Namu you know you can’t just ignore them, so it was work, walk, swipe away, repeat.

Eventually (after some blood loss) I got all my gear into my two packs, and then I could finally leave the relentless gang of Te Namu that live in the area I had parked up at. When I returned for my second pack, I could’ve sworn that the swarm was waiting for me. As soon as I stopped to take one last photo of the camp area I was attacked and had to keep moving. They must have informed their buddies about the fresh meal that was on its way!

Although I was constantly bitten most of my adventure, I still would rather go into the outdoors than sit at home doing nothing.

The night was awesome and very helpful for my mental state, and even if they were bloody annoying the sandflies were just part of the experience. Te Namu lives in the best parts of this amazing country and knowing this means I expect to see them when I go runabout in the bush. In fact, I should thank them as they kind of acted like personal trainers, and while the sun was up I was forced to work!

Sunsetting Behind Mt Bealey

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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