There’s a Hole in My Tent (Part Five) – Avoca River / Valley

“On a Mish” #386 There’s a Hole in My Tent (Part Five). Avoca River / Valley. Craigieburn Forest Park. 8.8.2023. Hiking with my best mate is something I am really enjoying. I am also really enjoying the fact that I can combine camping with k9 companionship. The experience has given me a new lease on life and as time has gone on I am enjoying building my strength, endurance and friendship with my little buddy. I’d lost the first two while recovering from my injury and while on a mish up the Avoca I was going to find out how helpless I would feel losing the third…

Reluctantly, we began our downward journey from Avoca Hut and this began with the realisation of how far I had hiked to get up to it. At least I had my mate by my side and he would act as a forward propelling pooch. Because the track up to the hut was covered in snow this immediately became a dodgy descent, but there was no way I was releasing my grip on young Ernest.

Luckily the footsteps kicked in by the team on the way up made the way down a little easier and the sight of the trucks was like seeing fresh water after crossing a desert. Both Ernie and I were happy to take our positions in the passenger’s seat and the team then bounced their way back to Basins Hut.

After getting back to the hut we settled in for the night and a victory meal was on the cards. It was while we prepared the meal that I noticed the lack of a little fuzzy Jack Russell. I went for a quick walk around and at first wasn’t too worried as he had probably just gone to a quiet spot to relieve himself. With the day now night ten minutes turned to twenty and after half an hour of nothing I was starting to get very worried. The team could see that I was starting to stress and during my brief returns to the hut after another failed search they offered words of reassurance. “He’s a Jack Russell and will come back” eased my discomfort, but it was only a temporary fix and thoughts of bad things happening to him re-entered my mind.

At one stage I asked Adam if we could go for a drive to see if he had somehow ended up where we had lost the drone. This was an unsuccessful voyage and I was now at a point where I didn’t have any other options available. Someone suggested I check my tent and even though I had checked under the tents earlier I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to check again. After a quick prayer to anyone that would listen I unzipped the fly and expected to see the same thing I’d seen earlier. To my surprise there was a huge hole in the netting of my inner tent and beyond the hole was a very sheepish looking Ernest D Wilson. I have never felt relief like I felt at that point in time. The poor little fella had done a better job returning to base than the drone!

The tiny team of two was reunited and finally after about an hour and a half of no Ernie, everyone in the Basins Hut area could breathe a sigh of relief! It is safe to say that I slept well that night!

Early-ish the next day we were getting ready to leave and the fellas made sure Ernie wasn’t allowed to travel out of my sight. Before leaving we replenished the hut’s wood supply and made sure it was cleaner than when we had arrived. And with a turn of the key we were on our way back to the real world.

The mish back to the Harper River and then to the road we came in on went by without issue. The further down the valley we got the stronger the wind became, and above us were the signs of a weather change. It was time to get out of the mountains and onto the Canterbury Plains.

Once again the Jimny crew had gone out on an adventure, and once again we had returned with more than just a simple camping trip story. What an epic! And even though there was now a new (and very large) hole in my tent, I didn’t lose my awesomeness assistant / dog. And when it’s all said and done I’ll take a hole in my tent over going back to a life without Ernie any day of the week, month, year!!!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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