A Taste of Alpine Life (Part One) – Potts Range / Erewhon Park (Almost)

“On a Mish” #381 A Taste of Alpine Life (Part One). Potts Range / Erewhon Park (Almost). Hakatere Conservation Park. 31.7.2023. The want to get up high in the mountains will become a need after spending enough time up high. Simply looking up at the mountains wasn’t enough for me and after changing my life and becoming a hiking guide with Ultimate Hikes I developed a love for uplifted land. Unfortunately my hip accident has forced me down to ground level and into the position of looking back up at the mountains. It didn’t take long before I started looking for alternatives as I really needed a taste of alpine life…

Many, many missions have been into the mountains that stand above the multiple braids of the Rangitata River. Starting with a probing mission via Lake Clearwater a long time ago, I found what I enjoy and have returned to repeat the feat time and time again.

One place that I have explored plenty of times is the old Erewhon Park Ski Field. Now deserted, the area once had many people zooming around on the snow and vehicles travelling in and out on a bulldozed road / track. Nowadays the people have left but the road remains and it was this road that I was hoping would provide the taste I was after.

After hitting yet another plateau in my recovery I was starting to get a little bit grumpy (understatement!). It seems that every time I add a little more to my physio / exercise routine I crash out with migraines plus added aches and pains. My outings of ten hour plus days hiking / climbing / exploring have never seemed so far away. The only saving grace was the fact that my little furry friend will be joining me no matter where or how far I go.

Another thing that has kept me out of the mountains lately is the cost of being alive in 2023. All of my adventures have been funded by myself and my drive to get out into the wild environment. Lately I have had something in my way that I cannot avoid like a rocky spire on a ridge, bills! So the combination of feeling average plus a lack of spare change had me near breaking point.

Luckily I managed to fight my way through a long month of no missions and had scraped together just enough funds to head to the hills. Now the only question was where do I go?

I scanned maps and looked at photos. I realised that I could attempt to clamber up the old bulldozed track and camp somewhere near the road.

Right, time to go on a mish! I just have to find Ernie…

Clear skies over the Southern Alps hid the unseen camping killer… wind! The Canterbury plains were behind me and as I rounded a corner and crossed the bridge at the very appropriately named Blowing Point I could see the trees swaying in the wind. Some might see this and retreat, but just like my harrowing battle with a battering breeze in the Upper Ashley Valley, I wasn’t going to let unsettled air stop me getting into the outdoors.

Ernie and I arrived at the start of the bulldozed track, and we could already feel the issues of the real world starting to dissolve like sugar in boiling water…

Looking South at the Rangitata River & Mesopotamia Station

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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