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

“On a Mish” #386 There’s a Hole in My Tent (Part Four). Avoca River / Valley. Craigieburn Forest Park. 6.8.2023. Pretty much every time I get into my cousin’s Suzuki Jimny we return with a tale to tell. We don’t go out looking for trouble / interesting situations, they just seem to find us! When Adam asked if I’d like to join him on a Jimny mish up the Avoca Valley I knew we would be in for an adventure, however I had no idea that the interesting situations would keep coming at us like the snow, rock and ice of an avalanche…

The hum of a vehicle in a remote location in the mountains of Aotearoa sticks out, just like the orange and red huts that are dotted throughout our alpine areas. Now if that sound is heard at 2am then something crazy is happening. Strangely, after so many missions with my cousin I have learned to expect the unexpected. So hearing a truck made me think that Adam might be going for a midnight mish or a second look for his lost drone. In the morning I discovered that somehow in the dark of the night, David had managed to get his truck up the valley to the hut. What a legend!

Now a team of four trucks, seven humans and three dogs. Today will be an excellent day in the wild wilderness west of Windwhistle.

After a big breakfast and a very relaxed start to the day we loaded up and began our trek up the valley, but first we thought we better at least have a little look for the lost drone… After driving to the last known location we found it within a few minutes! Our team’s newest members quickly became very worthy mission buddies and now the only blemish during a mish full of highlights had been undone. Surely it would be smooth sailing from here?

The last time Adam came up the valley he continued a small way above Basins Hut. On that mish, time was against him and he only managed to get a couple of Kilometres. This occasion was much different as not only did we have an entire day to play with, but we also had many trucks which meant a tow out of trouble wasn’t going to be an issue for anyone.

The snow deepened as we pushed on to a point where it would be impossible to drive any further. We were much further on than expected and this meant we were only a short hike away from Avoca Hut. I had read about this hut many times in the climbing guide about the area, and thanks to my hip and back I never pictured myself making it up to the hut (without the use of a helicopter!). After a day of shaking about I was anxious I might struggle to get to the hut, but once I got going the muscle memory took over. Nothing beats a snowy mountain scene as a distraction from an annoying injury. The team was taking in the scenery while I fought a duel with discomfort and at the base of the final climb to the hut I knew I was going to succeed.

Perched high above the Upper Avoca River is a small a-frame hut and a hot tub, yes hot tub! A quick look inside made me wish I had brought my sleeping bag and an unlimited food supply…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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