Wilberforce Valley – Gone with the Wind (Part Three)

“A Mish a Day” #140 Gone with the Wind – Part Three. Wilberforce Valley. Birdwood Range. 6.6.2020. After a battle with the wind that lasted all night long we needed a rest day. The wind continued to batter the valley as we crept forward and further up the valley. Our first goal was to get to a small hut we could see on the map. A slow creep took us to a small track hole in the Matagouri up to the hut. We were startled by several cows who called the area home and were hidden amongst the five foot high bush. A couple of bumps later and we were in a clearing looking at Fanghill Hut…

Our initial plan to stay at the hut was stopped by the fact that the hut is private and permission is required to use it. This was no problem as we had all the gear needed to camp anywhere, so after topping up the huts’ wood supply we headed deeper into the small valley up behind Fanghill Hut. To our surprise we found an excellent area in a small forest and due to the weather deteriorating we needed to set our camp up quickly. While setting up our camp we noticed some damage caused by the wind, and this needed to be fixed before we could pitch the marquee tent. Taped and tied, the marquee now stood a little off centre but still provided the much needed shelter. After a brief blast of rain the valley fell silent as snow began to fall. With our camp now fully set up we had the afternoon free and this meant we could explore the snow covered environment, with its now snow covered cows! The snow continued to fall as the afternoon became evening, and after another epic feast at our sheltered basecamp in the forest, our previous nights battle was rewarded with clearing skies and a star covered sky with a very bright full moon.

Fanghill Hut and the Jimny Mid Snowstorm

Early-ish the next morning we were up shaking the snow off our gear before stashing it into the Jimny and beginning the mish back to civilization. Although we hadn’t travelled very far up the Wilberforce Valley we still had a long bouncy drive back to the concrete of the road to Lake Coleridge. Each bounce was one closer to our target, and as we slowly pushed east we were treated to incredible views of a snow covered Wilberforce Valley. With the Wilberforce Canals in sight we drove past the location of our first camp, and it felt like it had been weeks since our battle with the wild Wilberforce wind. From the Canals we were back on the easy gravel roads that took us out of the wild and back to reality. Yet another Jimny epic and another much needed mission made possible by Suzuki! The trip had left me feeling sore and tired, but that is always better than sitting at home getting grumpy and restless!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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