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

“On a Mish” #386 There’s a Hole in My Tent (Part One). Avoca River / Valley. Craigieburn Forest Park. 4.8.2023. A constant companion in most of my outdoor adventures recently is my Marmot Tungsten tent. My transportable home away from home has provided shelter in nearly every type of weather situation possible, and on many landforms in the wilderness of both Nepal and New Zealand. Nowadays thanks to all of the missions it’s been on, it is sporting some war wounds in the form of rips, tears and holes. In places I have patched the holes and carried on, however on a mish up the Avoca River I would discover a hole much bigger than the ones I had patched and repaired during the tents tough four years in my hands…

Along with my tent, my incredibly keen K9 is always by my side (or nearby) and has become a very welcome addition to my outdoor adventure kit. Ernest has become part of the team and I wouldn’t want to change a thing. So when my cousin Adam asked if we’d like to join him on a Jimny mish we said yes immediately (Ernie had no choice!).

The plan was to head up the Avoca River with a couple of other trucks. Adam had been up the valley a couple of times before so we were heading to a familiar location. I had had a couple of rough weeks where things weren’t going to plan and I needed a getaway. To say I was excited about leaving town and heading into the hills would be a massive understatement!

After regrouping in Rolleston we realised we were one truck down. Unfortunately one of the team was still putting their vehicle together and would either be late or not coming. While it was unfortunate that we were three Suzuki trucks instead of four, we (five humans and two dogs) were still keen to get outta town.

The long flat straights of the Canterbury Plains were crossed before we hit the hills of the Lake Coleridge Area. We couldn’t have asked for a better day and as Adam unloaded ‘The Beast’ I marvelled at the reflections on Lake Selfe. An inebriated person might have had trouble working out which way was up or down!

Transporting Adam’s Jimny (The Beast) on a trailer makes for a comfortable ride across the plains, but it is when we jump into the Jimny that the real feeling of adventure begins to take hold. Erine and I took up our positions on the passengers side, and we began our quest west with smiles a mile wide. Another bonus was having heated seats on a day when we knew we would encounter snow and ice.

From Lake Selfe we drove to the Harper River and from here it was rough track travel with the Birdwood Range as the backdrop. This is an area Adam is very familiar with, so it was good to have an idea of the route to the first the right valley(Avoca) and then up to our basecamp at Basins Hut.

The off-road stuff began on a large stockbank with purpose built trenches lining the riverside of the huge amount of earth work. The amount of effort put into moving the land showed us this is a place of heavy rain and the flood prevention is a step up from sandbags!

Not too far along the bank we bumped into some hikers who threw their thumb out in what we thought was a joking manner. To our surprise they stopped us and asked for a ride. We only needed to point out the fact that Adam’s Jimny was as full as an unopened can and maybe try asking one of the other fellas. We knew that the truck behind us (Katie) was just as full, and also had the largest doggie in the back, Sam the Rotty. however there was a slither of room in the truck of our tail end charlie (Paul). We also knew that Paul was someone of such a kind nature that he would probably try to squeeze them in. Yip, to no one’s surprise somehow Paul managed to fit the trampers amongst the outdoor gear.

So once again we were on our way and having the reassurance of knowing the right way to the hut (for once) meant we could relax and really enjoy the journey. Not long after picking up the hikers we dropped down off the stock bank and made our way towards the small section of Upper Glenthorne Station. It was here that a gate literally stopped us in our tracks…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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