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

“On a Mish” #140 Forces of Nature (Part Two). Birdwood Range / Fanghill Stream. Wilberforce Valley. 6.6.2020. Mother Nature can be a powerful beast sometimes. A wild storm can sneak up on you, and strike when you least suspect. When the forces of nature are let loose on the world it is best to get out of the way. However, there are times when escape isn’t an option, and you must just batten down the hatches and ride out the storm…

When we retreated to the warmth of our sleeping bags there was only a slight breeze. About an hour later all hell broke loose. I woke to the sound of frantically flapping fabric and an unusual knocking noise coming from outside. I peeked out of my tent to see the marquee airborne and banging against the side of the Jimny. At the exact same time I became aware of what was happening on the riverbed, I saw Adam’s head torch burst into life. All we could do was tie everything down as best as we could and then hope for the best.

I must bow and salute my tent for its durability and ability to withstand a good storm. The wind raged until the light of the next day and, somehow, I was safe and sound with no damage to my Marmot Tungsten 2p . I couldn’t say the same for the marquee. Its night flying in the breeze had caused some damage, but by some miracle we didn’t lose anything. After getting everything packed into the Jimny we regathered our thoughts and had a quick coffee. The car was rocking with each gust, and it was funny (now) to think that I spent the night out there!

Our goal was to get some of the way up the valley and then establish a better (less windy) camp. I could see a hut on the map, so the plan was to get to the hut and potentially stay there instead of another night out in the open. We also needed to find a place with warmth as the forecast was for a strong southerly change with the chance of snow down to valley level. Onward we bounced.

The life-saving little truck took me out of the doom and gloom of doing nothing, and back into the wilderness. I never realized how much I needed it until it was taken away. Being out in nature is part of my identity, and without it I felt incomplete. My cousin Adam dragged me back into the outdoor world in his Jimny and I’d hate to think what would have happened if he did ask me to come on a mish with him after the covid lockdown. It was a little bit weird to be reintroduced to something I knew so well, but it was the only way I could relive my days of trekking as far as I could or climbing as high as my skills and body would let me.

A mish in May up the Havelock Valley re-sparked the flame for adventure. Next was the Wilberforce Valley, and not only would we see some incredible sights, but we would also have a little sprinkling from above as a reward for surviving our wild windy night battling the forces of nature….

Fanghill Hut

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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