Stubborn Love – Falls Creek (Part One)

“On a Mish” #319 Stubborn Love – Part One. Falls Creek. Fiordland National Park. 21.2.2022. Sometimes the mind and body are operating on different wavelengths. Your mind can be keen and eager to get on with things, but your body just doesn’t want to play ball. Lately I have felt this way on many occasions, and it has been frustrating to say the least. However, take a love for the wild and mix with a solid dosage of stubbornness and you will be amazed at where you end up!

It had been a while since I had been into the wild and the craving was getting stronger. After a couple of easy camping trips I decided to step things up a little and tackle a track that I knew would be challenging. My aim was to hike into the Falls Creek Valley, then set up camp and climb into the Earl Range above the valley. After eleven days of work in a row I was ready for some time off and the stage was set for an adventure. I do my best to stay away from drama, but if you have read any of my stories you will be aware that drama has a way of finding me! I had four days off and day one was looking like rain would put a stop to any outdoor activity. But to my surprise and contrary to the forecast, the skies cleared and the concrete began to dry. It is very rare that I let a dry skatepark go to waste, so to my delight it looked like I would get a skate in before my mish the next day. I had only been at the skate park for about ten minutes when I had a minor fall. The fall wasn’t too bad, but it was what I fell onto that made things interesting. To prevent skateboards, scooters and bikes from rolling onto the road the builders of the park created a section of super gritty / rocky concrete to slow the runaway equipment. I was doing something right on the edge of the smooth concrete and before I could do anything about it I was falling with arms stretched out onto the nuggety concrete. The whole thing happened in slow motion and I knew it was going to hurt. BOOM! My hands were opened up and the red stuff was flowing. I washed out the wounds in the public toilets then returned to my car bleeding and defeated. After patching myself up I had to really think about whether I would be able to go on a mish, but after seeing the outstanding weather forecast I knew my stubborn love for adventure would get me through.

Early-ish the next morning I had all of my gear ready and it was time to head to the Milford Road. The sun was shining and a small amount of cloud swirled around the tips of the huge mountains in the Upper Hollyford Valley. If I needed any more mission motivation then the vista of the Upper Hollyford Valley was it. Parked up, backpack on, ready to go do battle with the Falls Creek Track! I had to keep the fresh wounds on my hands protected so I taped up all of the damage and then wore a pair of cleaning gloves over the top. I must have looked like someone who was super afraid of Covid (even in the wild!!). This was going to hurt, but it would be a lot better than sitting around at home, something I avoid as often as possible. The first section of the track climbs up into the Falls Creek Hanging Valley and up is an understatement. A single fall here wouldn’t end well, and with hands covered in plasters and wearing cleaning gloves I slowly inched my way up the track towards my goal of the upper valley…

Consolation Peak and Ngatimamoe Peak

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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