Less Effort Just as Epic (Part Two). Upper Cleddau Valley

“On a Mish” #313 Less Effort Just as Epic (Part Two). Upper Cleddau Valley. Fiordland National Park. 15.12.2021. With all the entertainment we have at our fingertips these days many forget about the free entertainment on offer in the mountains. It is hard to explain to some young fellas that the point of the mission is to just look at the scenery and relax. The fact that ‘nothing else’ will happen sounds ‘boring’ until you experience an evening and morning of mountain magic…

It would be easy for me to use my bad hip as an excuse to stay at home, but when you have a craving for adventure as strong as I do then do nothing is very rarely the option I go for.

As I climbed the Milford Road towards the Homer Tunnel my eyes were drawn towards a step gut leading to a small ledge high above the road. The word epic was all that was on my mind as I parked near where I wanted to go. I grabbed my gear, and jumped out of my car with the prospect of an adventure looking much better than when I was standing at a ‘track closed’ sign. I had finally got started on my mish.

The Homer Saddle(1375m) & Homer Tunnel

Very quickly I went from strolling down the road to clambering over huge boulders in a dry riverbed. Above the watercourse were steep rock slabs which I had to scramble up to get to the small ledge I had seen from the road. It wasn’t long before I was climbing up exposed ground where a fall would not end well, so this kept me close to the rock using both feet and hands to climb higher. There can sometimes be a big difference between what terrain looks like from the safety of your car and what it is like with your boots fighting gravity to climb it!

The rock’s surface offers grip like a floor covered in sandpaper, however the long time spent away from this sort of terrain had me taking baby steps without the confidence I would have had before my accident. It was good to be back, but I could tell I hadn’t been on terrain like this for a long time. It was time to turn my stubbornness levels up to the max and push on towards my objective.

The weight of my camping pack seemed to increase somehow as I climbed higher, but my wilderness addiction and constant need for amazing views kept me going. After about 45 minutes of scramble-stop-rest-scramble I finally got up to the ledge, which was in an even better location than I first thought. When compared with my trip up near Dore Pass this was much less effort and somehow just as epic!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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