Grandeur on Steroids (Part One) – The Upper Rakaia

“On a Mish” #352 Grandeur on Steroids – Part One. Mid Rakaia River. Canterbury. Aotearoa. 7.10.2022. It is safe to say that Aotearoa is a place of stunning beauty. Many travel from all over the world to see its grandeur and marvel at New Zealand’s unspoilt nature. We are lucky to be able to access many of our mountainous places by vehicle, and when you are unable to hike these places become very important when it comes to fulfilling your outdoor cravings. Lately my missions have taken me to some exceptional locations, however I never expected to get to where I did after my cousin asked if I would like to go ‘on a mish’. After getting multiple steroid injections in my spine I wasn’t in the best shape and needed an out from reality for a while…

A long time before getting the injections my cousin Adam and I had planned to go for a mission and as fate would have it I had my injections just over a week before our outing. Of course many times the question of “should we call it off” was asked, but in true stubborn fashion I wasn’t going to let a little ‘needle in the spine action’ stop me from heading into the hills with one of my favourite mish buddies.

I am sure many of you have had adventures planned and then watched the weather forecast hoping that the weather gods will give you the glorious goods. As the weekend drew closer we both breathed a sigh of relief as a big storm had rolled through during the week and in its wake was clear skies and fresh snow on the peaks.

Now one thing that needs to be mentioned is our mode of transport, our way into the mountains. Starting just after the first covid lockdown and then many times after, together cousin Adam and I have loaded up his Suzuki Jimny and then seen how far we can get off-road. After many missions we have worked out what we need and what we don’t, and also over the last couple of years Adam has modified his Jimny to be an off-road beast.

In the early-ish hours of a chilly Friday morning in October Adam drove into my drive-way and the excitement levels began to rise. The Jimny is an ‘Off-Road Only’ vehicle, so to get to the end of the road we sat back in comfort and travelled across the Canterbury Plains in Adam’s Isuzu and the weather couldn’t have been any better. Blue skies and light winds, the weather every adventurer dreams of.

The weather and sense of adventure overpowered the pain in my back and hip, and after a couple of tense weeks I needed some grandeur, even if I was still suffering from the steroids! So with all of the pieces of the puzzle falling into the place we knew we were in for a good time and our challenge now presented itself to us. Our almighty challenge was seeing how far we could get the Jimny up the mighty Rakaia Valley, and at this stage we had no idea how incredible the weekend was going to be….

The Upper Rakaia River

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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