Movies at Mistake Flat (Part Five) – The Havelock Valley

“On a Mish” #370 Movies at Mistake Flat (Part Five). Mistake Flat Hut to Mesopotamia. Hakatere Conservation Park. 26.3.2023. People who love the outdoors usually have at least a couple of times when they have to pinch themselves to reassure them the moments they are experiencing are actually real. I can definitely name a few situations where I questioned whether I was awake or asleep. As we were deciding which movie to watch next, I had to ask myself if I was asleep or actually watching movies at Mistake Flat Hut…

After a true rest day we were ready to take on the challenge of getting home. As the crow flies the way out isn’t very far, but we are in the Havelock Valley and getting anywhere is a battle against Mother Nature’s natural barriers. It was very cool to have my new best buddy Ernie in the thick of the mish, and his constant tail wagging was a sign he was loving every second of the adventure.

The hut was cleaner than when we arrived, something I always do with huts I stay in, so it was time to begin our bruising journey. Last photos were taken, dogs loaded and motors fired up. Ok Havelock Valley… Please have mercy!

Earlier that morning Adam and I had fixed the trail to the hut and this meant a quick start. In about ten minutes we were back at the rushing waters of the Forbes River and it was time to face our first watery foe. Luckily we had mapped our progress up the valley, so after getting slightly off track we found the same spot we had crossed on the way in and the Forbes River was now behind us.

We bounced our way to the campsite we used the first time he had come up the valley in 2020. It was cool to see the circle of rocks that was our fireplace and the rocks I had used to secure my tent. On that trip we had nothing but clear skies above, however if we were camping in the same spot on this mish it would have been a very damp experience! The short break was also a way of catching our breath before facing the bumps of Carneys Creek.

We had come up with a plan to get around the worst of the rocks. Our improvised route next to the Havelock River proved to be the right way to go. In 2020 it took us about an hour to cross Carneys, in 2023 it took ten minutes! It was awesome to have that bloody bouncy mess behind us.

The way after Carneys is reasonably easy and well beaten tracks were followed to the front door of Growler Hut. We stopped for lunch at the hut and it was during this break we all began to realise how epic the mish had been. After a few laughs we all knew it was time to face our last challenge, the mighty Rangitata River. Or at least that’s what we thought.

On our way to the Rangitata Adam decided to drive on a very boggy old track instead of the normal one. It was fun to power through some mud as there isn’t much in this part of the world. Right at the very end of the track it climbed steeply back to the main route and as we bounced back on to the normal track there was an almighty thud. The truck was now leaning on an angle. I was rather nervous but as always Adam was on the job and after a pitstop in paradise we were on our way again.

We left the Havelock Valley and in front of us was a sea of stones, serenity and swirling water. We thought it would be a piece of cake thanks to us tracking our way through the first time around. We were wrong. Stop start, too deep here, too rocky there. The river didn’t want us to leave. There were points where even the Jimny’s massive lift was still not enough to keep the truck’s nose out of the water. A lot of back and forth was needed to get to the dry lands of Mesopotamia.

It took a drone search and Adam sacrificing his dryness by wading through the river for us to get across. Now it was nothing but increasingly improving farm tracks back to Adam’s truck and trailer waiting near the Mesopotamia Station house. While loading the truck we got a chance to catch up with the station manager again, and with that the mish was near done.

We started driving back to Christchurch and parted ways with Katie in the process. The team was stoked with an extremely awesome outing and it all had us telling Adam the same thing “it is gonna be hard to beat this mish”. Somehow I think he will think of a way to top ‘Movies at Mistake Flat’…

The perfect start to our final day

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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