Well I’ve survived my first real mishap in the bush. After spending a day crossing the Timaru River at least a dozen times without a problem, I managed to get myself in a bit of a pickle. Once I finished my last crossing, I was headed towards Stody’s Hut, a tough 2 km uphill trek. When I say uphill, I mean it was a gain of 400 meters over 1.5 km of trail. That’s about a 30% grade!
Just before that uphill started, there was a final creek to cross. Without a backpack on, I’m confident I could’ve crossed in a single leap. But, like all water crossings, I sized up my options and planned my route. It should’ve been three simple steps. I’m still not sure what happened, but on step number two, my foot slipped and I found myself wedged between a rock and a fallen log.
It took me about half an hour to extricate myself from my predicament, and about an hour to rest and assess my condition. A few bumps and bruises but nothing seemed broken. I tried to press on to the hut but I was simply too tired. Given the slope of the hill, I couldn’t find a place to pitch my tent. So, I spent the night camping cowboy style.
The next morning I knew I was in a bit of trouble. My leg was sore and I was struggling to walk even short distances without a rest break. In an hour and a half, I managed to cover about a kilometer and met two trampers who were taking a shorter route out of the valley that was not labeled on my maps. I spoke with them and they agreed to let me tag along with them.
After about an hour, I realized I wasn’t going to make it out in one day. I spoke to my rescuing angels and they agreed to hike out and send back help. I gave them my GPS coordinates and they headed the 12 km out to the road and out of the backcountry. I found a shady spot in a grassy area and waited for rescue.
I want to say thank you to Petra and Elena. Without their help, it would’ve taken me 3-4 days to get myself out of my situation. With rain in the forecast and more river crossings ahead, those would’ve been very dangerous days for me.
I always try to be careful in the backcountry. Accidents do happen. I’m glad I was prepared to weather the storm but I’m grateful I did not have to. I’m taking a week off in Wanaka, walking every day and working on getting back on the trail. I’m ready to continue my adventure!
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