To Invincible and Beyond – Muddy Spur Camp (Part One)

“A Mish a Day” #119 Muddy Spur Camp – Part One. Rees Valley. Mt Aspiring National Park. 28.3.2010. Most of the time when I go on a mish I think of something outside of the normal. It isn’t often that I will just hike along a track to a hut (although I still do on the odd occasion). I go into the outdoors to find seclusion from the rest of the world. Only a small percentage of the world’s population will ever get to feel the sense of remoteness you get when hiking alone in our big backyard…

We are so lucky in Aotearoa to have many places to go and find solitude and peace in the wild. So for me to achieve this as often as possible I will usually look for a place to visit away from well used trails and tracks. Muddy Spur sits above Invincible Creek in the Rees Valley, and was another random spot for me to pitch my tent for a night. I had some time off between guiding trips on the Routeburn Track, and after my first hike up to the historic Invincible Mine I knew I would need to return to the area ARMED with my tent and camera (a very important point for later in the story). On the old topo maps there was a track marked heading north, crossing Invincible Creek, and past an old hut. Above this is Muddy Spur, and on the map I could see a good flat spot at around the 800m contour, which looked like it would have an impressive view up the Rees Valley.

Target located, time to hit the road and head to camp. As far as roads go, the drive on the Queenstown to Glenorchy Road is hard to beat. The iconic view from Bennetts Bluff always delivers and this day was clear and sunny. I quickly took in the view as I zoomed past the log-jam of rental cars at the small roadside car park, on my way past the small lakeside village of Glenorchy, enroute to the Rees Valley Road. After parking my car, I followed the Invincible Mine Track, passing through the mining area, then continuing north to Invincible Creek on the track I had seen on the map. Above the mine the track dropped steeply into the riverbed, then a short climb up out to reach the old hut which was marked on the map. The hut was very rundown, and most likely haunted, so I didn’t stick around and continued towards Muddy Spur. I got to the flat spot and set up camp. The reward of the view was an excellent prize for the small amount of effort put in to get to the epic location. From my tent I looked up the Rees Valley at the East Peak of Mt Earnslaw(2830m), then further on to Mt Clarke(2285m), and then finally a blur of the many snow capped peaks of the Barrier Range. I had finished my dinner and was enjoying the last rays of light, when a helicopter came buzzing up the valley from the direction of Glenorchy. I thought it was a strange time of the night to be flying, then went back to taking in the view. To my surprise about 20 minutes later the helicopter returned, circled my camp, then sat down about 20meters away …

Derelict Hut on the Track Above Invincible Mine

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter