Forces of Nature (Part Three) – Birdwood Range / Fanghill Stream

“On a Mish” #140 Forces of Nature (Part Three). Birdwood Range / Fanghill Stream. Wilberforce Valley. 7.6.2020. With all of the epicness of being reintroduced into the outdoors came the only downside to these wild adventures. The bouncing, jolting, rocking and rolling that comes with a trip up a Canterbury braided riverbed was torture on my hip and back, but plan B was doing nothing. My first mish with my cousin in his Suzuki Jimny was more a battle with discomfort and pain. But on the next trip the forces of nature were added to the many rocks of the Wilberforce Valley…

Luckily Fanghill Stream / Hut (our goal for the day) was about an hour or so up the valley, and in places had proper track! (a rare find in this sort of country). We cruised up to the hut and found out it was a private hut owned by Glenthorne Station and must be booked before use. We didn’t want to rock the boat so after topping up the hut’s wood supply we pushed on up Fanghill Stream following a faint track into the beech forest behind the hut.

Above the hut we found a perfect open area in the forest which not only blocked the wind, but the canopy provided shelter from the weather which was ramping up. Heavy rain batted the valley, but we were reasonably safe in our new home for the night. The rain lasted about thirty minutes and then a special silence was heard, the silence that comes with snow falling.

Fanghill Hut and the Jimny Mid Snowstorm

The snow fell on and off for the rest of the day, so we were happy to stay where we were and soak up the atmosphere. During the early evening the skies cleared, and we had a crisp clear land to marvel at. Doing very little was perfect for my hip and the night in the forest was about as far away from my night fighting the forces of nature on the Wilberforce Riverbed. We drifted off to sleep in our new location to the trickle of Fanghill Stream instead of the blast of a gale.

Early-ish the next day we were up getting ready to head back to the real world. The snow from the day before was locked in place by a fresh frost. Travelling with the heater cranking felt like cheating in a place mostly seen by hikers / trampers. The crunching over the frozen ground was better than even thinking about attempting to walk back to civilization.

The return trip was much quicker thanks to the fact that we knew where to go. It didn’t take long before we were driving back past our riverbed camping spot and laughing about our wild night out. It was amazing my Marmot tent withstood the onslaught and we didn’t lose anything. Night two was much better and more comfortable than the first night, however there is no way that I will ever forget the night I had to battle the forces of nature in my tent on the mighty Wilberforce Riverbed!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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