A Toast to the Mish – Balmacaan Saddle Camp (Part Two)

“A Mish a Day” #89 Balmacaan Saddle Camp – Part Two. Hakatere Conservation Area. 27.6.2018. I often get strange looks from my friends and family when I tell them I am going camping during the chilly months of winter. Obviously I have no trouble with the cold, and thanks to modern clothing I haven’t ever had a situation when I have run out of clothing to put on and still felt cold.

With a couple of layers of merino on and wrapped up in my sleeping bag, I haven’t faced a night too cold yet. Waking up to see the frost sparkling on the inside of your tent (and sometimes there has been frost on my sleeping bag cover!) is an exciting way to start the day!

Balmacaan Saddle

Early-ish the next morning I was up in time to see the amber glow on a snow-covered Mahaanui / Mt Harper(1829m) from the early light of the dawn sun. I could see a weather change in the clouds high above me, so after a quick breakfast I packed up camp and crunched my way down the valley in the frosted snow. As I began my hike I could see the wind blowing spindrift off the summits of the mountains so I knew a nor’west storm was brewing and it was time to head home. I could still see some of the lines my snowboard had cut into the snow higher up on Mahaanui / Mt Harper(1829m), but now much more rock and tussock was starting to appear. A lot of the snow from the day before had disappeared as I descended lower down the valley, so I knew I had made the most of it while it (the snow) was still there. With a pack much lighter due to all of the drink and food being consumed I hiked across the Lake Clearwater Basin towards Lake Camp and the end of my adventure. This was a mission I would like to repeat one day with at least twice as much snow. I’m positive that the effort of carrying my snowboard, along with the weight of all of my camping gear and food, would make a lot more sense!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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