Still a Bit Buggered – Part One

“On a Mish” #280 Still a Bit Buggered – Part One. East Eglington / MacKay Creek. Fiordland National Park. 2.6.2021. Not being able to do what you used to do can be very frustrating. For me, my injury has meant going from 12 hour days in the mountains to 12 months plus out of the game. The few forays into the hills I have been able to do have definitely kept me sane, but I still crave a solid multi-day mission. Being totally exhausted after tackling some undulating terrain is a very satisfying feeling, particular when coupled with enjoying the simple pleasures of either hut or camp life in the destination you have got yourself to. As NzHikes.co.nz shows I am fond of a good mountain mish…

I hit a plateau in my recovery, and things weren’t going to plan. I was enjoying the benefits of slowly improving after my hip accident, but for some reason I got to a point where I wasn’t improving anymore. Luckily I wasn’t going backwards, but I was frustrated at the delay in getting back to being 100%. I decided I needed to test my abilities so with a couple of days off I headed into Fiordland on the Milford Road. My plan was to go to the last marked track starting from the road I hadn’t done, the East Eglington Track. Apparently the forecast was for rain to clear over the afternoon, but I argued this as the rain pelted my car. Ten minutes after leaving my house I had to turn back as I had forgotten my water bottle. I should have taken this as a sign. I headed back and got my water bottle, and then it was back to the Milford Road. I arrived at the start of the track and the valley was still getting soaked by drizzle. Thinking (because of the forecast) it was going to clear I saddled up and hit the track. My plan was to camp near the East Eglington River, and looking at the route it looked like the track hit a clearing about 1km or so along the track. I was protected from the light rain by the beech forest, but this also meant no views to begin with. To my surprise the track immediately began to climb away from the river.

I followed the markers up into a forest of large red beech trees. It had been a while since I had seen beech trees this big, and the sight of the massive trees motivated me to continue further. After only 20 minutes or so I could feel the weight of the pack on my hip, and it didn’t feel too good. Because of the pain I didn’t do my hip belt up and this meant all of the weight was on my shoulders. As if they felt like they were missing out, my shoulders began to strain under the weight with the pain added to my already sore hip. I had to check my GPS a couple of times as I was climbing far away from the river, which also meant I was climbing away from my riverside camp spot. Another check of the GPS revealed I had now hiked past the clearing by the river I was aiming for. Hmmmm. I reached a deep gut which I had to clamber down into and then out of, and the weight of my pack plus my bad hip didn’t help with the scramble down and then back up again. Now in pain I kept walking not really knowing what I was heading towards. I was starting to think going camping wasn’t the best idea…

The start of a stroll through the woods…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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