Waimakariri Camp – Easing Back into the Outdoors

“ A Mish a Day” #163 Waimakariri Recovery Camp. Arthurs Pass National Park. 10.8.2020. I don’t think anyone will argue with me when I say that 2020 hasn’t been the best year. Starting with my hip injury, and then that sickness thing, the year is more than welcome to call it a day now, and we can start afresh in 2021.

With everything going on my missions have been restricted this year, and even at times impossible, with our level 4 lockdown. So finally in August the cravings were to much to handle, so I planned an overnight camping trip, that will work with my limited mobility. I have traveled over the mighty Waimakariri River many times on the Mt White bridge, but have always ended up turning left, and heading up to the Hawdon Shelter, instead of continuing further along the Mt White Station Road. I’ve always wanted to see Andrews Shelter at the entrance to Andrews Valley, and I was sure that I could find a good camp spot some where in the area. I left Christchurch excited to be going on a camping trip again, and the question now was how my hip would handle the trip. Initially, I wanted to camp around the start of the Binser Saddle Track, but as I drove to the track head I saw a couple of trucks parked up. I really wanted a night by myself so I now had to think about a plan B. I found an old farm track which took me up onto a terrace overlooking Cass Hill(1098) and the Waimakariri, and from here a short climb took me to another, even better terrace with views of the snow capped peaks in the Shaler Range. As I can’t put very much weight onto my hip I had spread out my gear into multiple bags, which I slowly took up to the site in several slow plodding trips. I began to set up my tent, and as a poetic Bellbird landed in a beech tree beside my camp site, I had to pause and take in the familiar wilderness environment that had been lacking during 2020. After a quick rest break in the sun, camp was completed and I began to collect wood and take some photos of the sun setting behind the Polar Range and Woolshed Hill(1429m). Unfortunately after dinner the mission had an unwanted twist, as probably due to over doing it during the day, I got an intense migraine that forced me into my sleeping bag. A quick rummage through my first aid kit revealed I had no pain killers, which is an even bigger blow considering I have very strong medication for my hip. I had to ride the uncomfortable migraine wave, which prevented me going to sleep, by counting the calls of the Ruru/Morepork, and also how many trains had broken the night’s silence with their deep rumble.

Eventually I did get to sleep, and feeling much better in the morning, an early-ish start had me out into the frosty air to witness the sun rising on the mountains in the area. As I slowly packed up camp, I now knew that I had to take it easy, and my hip still has a lot of healing to do before I can get back into proper missions…

Sunrise on Mt White Station

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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