A Freezing Fool (Part Three) – Cameron Hut

“On a Mish” #99 A Freezing Fool (Part Three). Cameron Hut. Hakatere Conservation Area. 5.9.2013. Hiking, climbing, and exploring puts me into a mediative like state where time is much different that when in the ‘real world’. Hours of scrambling up a mountainside or trekking a tough trail can seem like minutes when you are in the zone. There are also times when you really wish that the clock would slow down a bit, as with time passing comes the repetitive process of daylight and then darkness. And with me deep in the Cameron Valley and the latter rapidly approaching I was taken out of the mediative state and thrown into a rather stressful situation…

After dropping from the plateau to the valley floor again I knew I must have been close to my target. The odd map check gave me hope that I was close to getting out of the storm and into the cozy confinements of Cameron Hut.

The track to the hut is marked with rock cairns in the upper valley. When snow falls and daylight fades these cairns can be difficult to spot. On several occasions I felt like things weren’t quite right and, after tracking back and searching around, I would see a snow mound which was in fact was a track marker and the way to safety. I was now around 1300 metres above sea level and the snow was about knee height, at least fighting the snow was keeping me warm!

I clambered over a couple of moraine mounds and I’m guessing due to how much I craved it, through the flying tussock, snow, wind and darkness, I spotted the unmistakable sight of a manmade object. A perfect box shape with a triangle shaped roof sticks out like a sore toe. Safety was close, I just had to make sure I didn’t lose the trail when I was so near to the hut.

I slowly covered the remaining terrain very carefully. Several times I dropped down to points where I lost sight of the hut and I had to keep searching for a pile of rocks amongst piles of rocks! Tired, thirsty, and really looking to sit down, eventually I arrived at the hut and plonked myself down so I could regather my thoughts.

What a battle, It took me just under seven hours, which was much longer than the four to five I had thought. That didn’t matter now that I was at the hut, however it was a close call. I really wanted a drink, however I had to thaw some water before that was possible. As the storm raged on outside, I began to wind down, and after attempting to eat some dinner tiredness caught up with me and I this freezing fool had to retreat to the warmth of his sleeping bag to get some much needed shut eye…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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