Modifying the Mish (Part Three) – Gertrude Valley

“On a Mish” #321 Modifying the Mish (Part Three). Gertrude Valley. Fiordland National Park. 22.3.2022. Total emergence in the mountains is what I seek, and to get it I must spend at least or two nights outdoors. When I first got injured, I went the longest amount of time without a mish in about fifteen years and the stress on my mind was almost as strong as what I was feeling in my hip and back. After a long time on the sidelines, I slowly started to venture out. As time went on, I would work out new places and new ways to experience the outdoors. Modifying my missions meant I could get my wilderness fix and thanks to where I live, I don’t have to go far to be blown away by epicness…

A couple of times lately I have stepped, scratched, and scrambled my way up to a sweet campsite and then relived my days of being out and about. I’d love to get back up high climbing but for now I make it work by modifying the mish to suit my current abilities. I have got to some very cool places and, while suffering from the journey, the environment has done enough for me to be happy. The wild world is a powerful sedative or stimulant, depending on what you require.

From my camp at the Base of Barrier Peak(2039m) I could look down the length of the Gertrude Valley to Mount Belle(1965m) and Mount Moir(1965m). Two Darran Mountain marvels towering high above the Milford Road and Homer Tunnel. The size and scale never cease to amaze me.

Last of the Days Light in the Gertrude Valley

I had just got my tent up when I heard a familiar noise. A cheeky Kea was sneaking its way under the entrance to my tent and helping itself to my water bottle! These brave birds are both entertaining and nerve invoking at the same time. I now had another thing to distract me from my hip pain, Kea damage! I watched my tent carefully for the rest of the evening as the curious little fella stuck with me until the sun began to disappear behind Mt Talbot.

With tiredness beginning to win I retreated to the warmth of my sleeping bag and the incredibly still night meant I had a much better than expected sleep. I was pretty sore when I woke in the morning, but one glance out the door of my tent and I was smiling like I had never had an accident!

I decided that instead of heading up to Gertrude Saddle like I had originally planned, I would scramble some of the way up the west face of Barrier Peak(2039m). I was in the mood to relive some of my pre-injury alpine antics. The grippy granite rock gave my boots excellent traction as I slowly pushed on further up the ever-steepening ground.

I eventually got to a point where my back and hip said enough. This was easily far enough for me, and I was bloody stoked about how far I had gone. The elevation gave me outstanding views of the surrounding mountains, and the buzz was a feeling I had missed while I was out of the game. It might not have been a summit, but I didn’t let that spoil the massive smile on my face…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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