Wilberforce Valley – Gone with the Wind (Part Two)

“A Mish a Day” #140 Wilberforce Valley – Part Two. Craigieburn Forest Park. 5.6.2020. The commitment to the mission needed when going into the outdoors is something I crave. I enjoy the fact that you can’t simply stop what you are doing and give up. You got yourself here and now you will have to get yourself out. This can become interesting and challenging when the weather takes a turn and becomes what most would think is “unpleasant”. Personally I love it! A little bit of excitement will become another chapter in the story that the mission is writing for you…

After years of wondering what the Wilberforce River was like I was now drifting off to sleep on the vast riverbed at the entrance to the huge Canterbury High Country valley. Just over an hour after retreating to the warmth of my sleeping bag I was explosively woken by the sound of wildly flapping Gortex, as a very strong wind was thrashing one side of my tent. I poked my head outside of my tent to see the opposite of the peaceful and still night we had enjoyed earlier. The riverbed now seemed more barren than ever with powerful gusts whipping up dust and debris.

After a few refreshing blasts of wind I woke up enough to realize that the marquee tent was halfway through its takeoff procedure with the legs 5 feet in the air and the tethering ropes straining under the power of the wind and the only thing preventing it from taking flight. At about this time Adam realized things weren’t going to plan outside, and jumped into action. Together, both a bit dazed and with freezing hands, we partially dismantled the flying marquee, unfortunately damaging it slightly but thankfully not losing any pieces. We then battled against the now gale force wind as we stowed as much as possible under the truck out of the wind and hopefully safe for the night. Frozen and cut in half by the brutal wind, we both jumped back into our mobile bedrooms, and then began the intense job of surviving the night. Adam’s steel tent (the Jimny) fared a lot better than my poor tent. It was a long night with no sleep at all because of the relentless gale force winds that wanted to send my tent flying back to the Canterbury Plains with me in it. At times I could hear the wind gust before it got to the tent, so I would have time to brace the tent with my back and arms, so the wind didn’t bend any of the tent’s poles. It was a long night but one I knew would become part of an epic story, so I did my best to look at the bright side of very little sleep. A very early-ish start at first light the next morning had us working together to make sure nothing disappeared forever in the wind…

Fanghill Hut

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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