On the 13th March we took off from Te Anau to fly into the Irene Valley. The idea was to service all the traps along the river down to the sea near Charles Sound. It was early morning and a beautiful day. We landed in the upper reaches of the valley, dropped our camping gear and then flew even further up to the start of our walk back down.
Checked all the traps to the camp site. I got terribly lost trying to find the camp on my own. Was confused because I thought the camp to be on the true right side of the river. The problem was that when we landed the helicopter flew upstream and the camp appeared to be on the right. Made my way back though with my GPS! Cooked dinner that evening.
Next day I was out with Rob to mark a track over a bluff and through dense bush. It was a lovely day but rather hard work. The bush down there is something else! Thick undergrowth and wet everywhere. Luckily it did not rain! Made it back to camp by afternoon and cooked dinner again.
Next day we packed all our gear to get down to the second camp for another night. It started all well until just after lunch time I slipped down a small step and while I tried to halt my fall holding on to a tree my bicep on my right arm ripped apart.
I wanted to continue the walk but was told by the team leader, Mike, and Rob that it would be too dangerous to do so and that I would need to be flown out. We turned back until we found a wide spot in the river bed and activated my locator beacon.
Within half an hour a helicopter circled above us but the pilot decided it too dangerous to attempt a landing so they lowered a rope and a medic, put me into a harness, and lifted me out of the Irene Valley. Back to Te Anau to the surgery for assessment.
It was an incredible experience and I enjoyed every moment down there. The highlight was seeing a blue duck. Just too bad about my accident.