Grandeur on Steroids (Part Three) – The Upper Rakaia

“On a Mish” #352 Grandeur on Steroids – Part Three. Evans Hut to Rieschek Hut. Upper Rakaia River. Canterbury. Aotearoa. 8.10.2022. If your life is full of aches and pains then you need a good distraction, and there is nothing better than the distraction of a mish. Having a goal / target to aim for and letting that occupy your mind is much healthier than letting the days slip away. Over the last couple of months I have watched both my fitness and muscle disappear, and goals of going further and higher into the mountains seem to have been put on hold. This has meant dealing with the fact that there might be locations on my list that I might not ever get to, or so I thought…

As stated in the guide book we called Manuka Point Station to check river conditions and we were told the river was low and we might be able to get up as high as Totara Flat and possibly up to the opposite side of Cattle Stream, near Evans Hut. As both of us are ‘a little bit’ competitive we saw this as a challenge to get up to the hut, and now the challenge completed we were planning the next stage of our adventure while enjoying our first night at the place we had planned to get to in two days. That little truck had made its owner and number one fan very happy, and rather sore.

The Upper Rakaia (Near Rieschek Hut)

Early-ish the next day we were up enjoying the pre-dawn sky and to our astonishment we watched a comet streeck across the lightly lit mountainous skyline. What a start to the day and we knew it was only going to get better. On many occasions I had looked at the vast Upper Rakaia and dreamed of a day I would hike up the valley, and now in my broken state somehow I found myself marvelling at the grandeur that lay before me while still recovering from steroid injections! Along with gazing at the grandeur, porridge was the first mish, then once fed the next was the difficult task of dragging ourselves away from our camp near Evans Hut. After the only sign of our visit was only some flat grass on the meadow we spent our night at, we hit the vague track and began our quest to get to Reischek Hut on the opposite side of the valley.

Crossing the Rakaia River at the few fords is one thing, making your way over the mighty waterway is another. Like the day before, I walked in front of the Jimny to pick a way through the rocky rubble until we reached the first braid. A milky green flow lapped at the Jimny’s tyres as we pushed through the first section with ease. The next was looking easy until the post glacial flow got much deeper and we both had to hold our breaths as the truck slowly bounded through the river with barely a slip of a wheel. Apart from one deepish braid the river was no trouble for the beastly vehicle, and after another section of walking for me and bouncing for Adam, we got onto the other side. Once on the south side of the valley we found the old track to the hut and our timing meant we would be enjoying a late lunch at Reischek Hut…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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