Up to the Challenge (Part Two) – Macaulay Valley

“On a Mish” #357 Up to the Challenge – Part Two. Macaulay Valley / Hut. Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park. 5.11.2022. When away from help extra care needs to be taken. There have been many locations I have gone to where I knew if I hurt myself I would be in trouble. Of course, staying away from these places is much safer than venturing into them, but if you are a wilderness addict then you really need to see remote beauty as often as possible. But there is a big difference between a challenge and putting yourself in a life threatening situation. Each time my cousin and I have gone into the wild in his Suzuki Jimny we have carefully assessed each challenge, and apart from the risk of getting stuck, we have never had any ‘life threatening’ situations…

Within a period of about 10 minutes the small grassed area at the top of the Lilybank Road went from 9 Jimnys down to 1. With everyone else deciding to head to Queenstown we found ourselves alone and venturing up a valley we were told we wouldn’t get up. After being told we couldn’t do it, we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were up to the challenge!

Macaulay Hut / Lodge

Part one of the mish was crossing over to the true right of the Macaulay River to get onto the farm tracks that head up the large valley, and luckily we had just watched a local get across with ease. After crossing the river we followed easy tracks until Stoney Stream. We thought this might be the unpassable part the farmer was talking about, and at a quick glance we knew that it would be a piece of cake for the mighty Jimny.

Next was to draw a breath, because after a slight bend in the valley we got our first view up towards the massive peaks at the top of the Macaulay. The journey for the next couple of hours towards those peaks was a mix of easy track and then river overflow obliteration. The track would be fine and well worn in places, then all of a sudden it would lead to a drop into a new braid of the river. To be honest I know that Adam’s beast would be able to get the whole way up the valley off track, but the track is much, much nicer on my battered back and hip.

At one point we could see a shimmer of light at the base of a bulky mountain and both knew that that was a vehicle parked at the hut, and if that was how far we had to travel then we were definitely up to the challenge and we were going to make it!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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