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

“On a Mish” #370 Movies at Mistake Flat (Part Two). Mesopotamia Station to Growler Hut. Hakatere Conservation Park. 24.3.2023. A mission is an chance to enjoy the sweet satisfaction of achievement. This feeling can become very addictive and before you know it you are a full blown wilderness addict. As a kid my cousins and I went on mini adventures into the wilds of our backyards. As we grew older we ventured further and then it came crashing to a halt once we both became “car enthusiasts”. It is an awesome irony that ‘a couple’ of years later we would combine our sense of adventure with a little bit of horsepower and this would have us enjoying movies at Mistake Flat Hut…

Within a couple of hours we had gone from suburbia to a sea of snow covered summits. The vastness increased as we drove closer to Mesopotamia.

Adam now trailers his Jimny to the start of each adventure and this means we travel in comfort until the bumping around begins. While we unloaded the track and some gear, a 500 Hughes helicopter came and hovered near where we were. Adam recognized the pilot as the station manager and once the machine touched down he headed over for a yarn and to tell him what we were up to. So now along with our family overseeing our outdoor operation, we also had someone with an unbeatable knowledge of the area and a chopper aware of our intentions.

The Jimny’s tires rolled off the trailer and onto the ground it was going to bounce over during our three day mish. I sat in my usual position in the passenger’s seat, however this time I had a passenger of my own to hold on to. Ernie immediately began to hang out of the window resting his front paws on the window sill. This would be the position that he would insist on staying in the whole mish. At times the cold wind would blow into the truck but if I dared close the window then I would have to deal with the wrath of Ernie!

Easy tracks very quickly turned into a mess of riverbed washout, this was going to be another rock and roll mish that my hip and back weren’t going to enjoy. We were seeing the first signs that the track had taken a beating during a recent storm and I knew from this point it was going to be the same for my broken body.

A mix of flats, farm tracks and washed out crap took us to our first crossing of the Rangitata River. Along with the Rakaia River the Rangitata has been a major challenge as far back as the first Maori. I don’t think the early Maori had Jimny’s!

Adam’s concern for others is apparent when he takes people on trips with him. Places that his truck had no issues with were different challenges for Katie’s vehicle. The Rangitata was definitely a major challenge for the team. The river was running slightly higher than normal and it’s swiftness was making the crossing easier said than done. A couple of times we went into the water only to realise its clearness had led us into a trap. We had some tense times as the front of the truck dipped deeply into the rushing torrent and Adam had to chuck her into reverse and get the turbo singing for us to get out.

Eventually we managed to cross the river multiple times and found dryer ground which was much nicer and less stressful to travel on.

After our battle with the Rangitata we were in the lower reaches of the Havelock Valley and a quick glance at my watch showed us we had many hours of daylight left. It was time for a lunch stop, and the Growler Hut was the perfect place for a bite to eat. It had taken us twice as long to get to this point on our first mission into the valley and this made us even more confident we would make it up the valley to Mistake Flats.

As tough as it was to get to Growler Hut on our first venture, the real back breaking part was getting across Carneys Creek. After packing up our lunch we got back into the trucks and began to drive towards the place that proved to be a much bigger mission than expected on the first round, but this time we had a truck on steroids and tons of time on our side…

Mistake Flat Hut and the Cloudy Peak Range

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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