Stubborn Love – Falls Creek (Part Three)

“On a Mish” #319 Stubborn Love – Part Three. Falls Creek. Fiordland National Park. 22.2.2022. One of my workmates has a partner who participates in adventure races like the famous and gruelling Godzone. We chatted about his love of going out and using his body to its absolute limit and then suffering in satisfaction for a couple of days after. These days, with my old man hip, I tackle tracks that I used to fly up with care and some discomfort. The reason why I keep doing it even though it hurts and gets hard in places?… because I love it and I’m stubborn as!

Luckily for me my stubbornness had got me to a location that was rather pleasing to the eyes. I had the constant trickle of Falls Creek making its way towards the drop into the Hollyford Valley and above that was the towering cliffs of Mt Christina’s East Peak(1983m). In the opposite direction I had a view up to the top of the valley and there stood the chunky peaks Consolation(1851m) and Ngatimamoe(2164m). This will do, time to hang out in paradise. The afternoon rolled on into evening, and as I enjoyed my dinner I watched the mountains glow gold with the sun’s last blast of light for the day. The first chill of night air told me it was time to retreat to the warmth of my sleeping bag, and from there I drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face. At one stage during the night I woke up and thought someone was shining a torch on my tent and it took me a couple of moments to work out what was going on. The moon was nearly as bright as the sun that night in Fiordland and the keen could have kept the adventure going all night long!

Early morning in Falls Creek

Early-ish the next morning I woke to the familiar sound of the trickle of Falls Creek and it was a very refreshing way to wake up. I had a couple of coffees to recharge the batteries and then began to pack up. Knowing what was ahead meant I had to re-enforce my hand bandages and put on another pair of cleaning gloves. Now ready for battle I retraced my steps back along the river to the place where I could climb back up into the forest and then back up to the track. Even the flat part of the track has its tough moments, as the shield ferns cover the ground and every now and then there is a hidden root or branch at perfect shin-smashing height. After bashing my way through the ferns in the hanging valley I got to the lip of the valley and the drop back down into the Hollyford. On many occasions I would be forced to throw my hiking poles down the track and then turn around and downclimb sections like a ladder. The heavy pack strained my back and gripping the roots and rocks hurt my hands. In the past I would have looked at this inconvenience a lot differently. But now that life is getting back on track I am just happy to be in a country where I can still get out and about and do the thing I love the most. After a couple of hours of challenging hiking I was back at the Milford Road and my car. The deep pulse of pain in my hip was telling me that it was a tough outing. I had the option of not going on a mish due to the damage I had done to my hands, but thanks to my stubborn love of a good mish on a sunny day I had achieved another epic adventure in the mountains of Fiordland National Park. However, now it was time to pay the toll for going on a mish with a pre-broken body. I might have to spend a few hours on the couch but I will be sore BUT very satisfied. Which is much better than being grumpy!!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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