Windy-Force Valley (Part Three) – Wilberforce Valley Camp

“On a Mish” #346 Windy-Force Valley – Part There. Lake Coleridge Area / Wilberforce Valley. West Canterbury. 31.8.2022. Many dream of a large soft bed to sleep on, whereas I dream of a couple of centimetres of foam between me and the ground. There is something I enjoy within the harshness of a night out in the wilderness. Nothing is easy and many things (weather & wild environment) are doing their best to make you as uncomfortable as possible. Stripping away everything that makes us ‘comfortable’ can sometimes give you an experience that will make you think differently about sleeping in a bed, and maybe make you a wilderness addict just like me!

Once the sun and light exited the area there wasn’t much more for me to do but check the tents tie downs and then retreat to the warmth of my sleeping bag. To my surprise the wind eased a little during the night and this gave me some much needed rest. The last time I camped in this location I had to sit with my back pushing into the wind to prevent the stronger gusts destroying my tent. On this mish the wind was much kinder… until the morning.

The Sky Was Blazing Red in the Morning

Early-ish the next day I unzipped myself out of my shelter and saw a faint reddish orange glow beginning to appear on the eastern horizon. The morning bathroom break was slightly different to the normal, as I was alone in a huge dark valley with the howl of the wind echoing the dark skies approaching from the west. According to the forecast rain was going to set in during the afternoon, and as the sky began to blaze red with hints of orange and yellow, I knew the rain wasn’t far away. With more light came more signs of the approaching storm. After a classic red sky in the morning, I began to see Lenticular Clouds (hogs backs), another tell-tale sign of a weather change. Just like when I set my camp up, I had to call upon my training to make sure I did lose any gear in the wind. Luckily my car was part of the set up, so there was no long trek back to it, and after stuffing all of my gear inside I was outta there. Now with the wind on my back I could drive towards the safety of civilization knowing I had got my camping fix before the weather soured. After getting back in cell phone coverage my phone brought me back to reality with messages from ACC, doctors and many other dealings to deal with. But with my wilderness cravings fulfilled for now I knew I could face anything else the world throws at me with at least an attempt at a smile! Oh and I also returned to the news that everyone has Covid in the place I live…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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