An Appropriate Place (Part One) – Dogs Hill(1067m)

“On a Mish” #389 An Appropriate Place (Part One). Dogs Hill(1067m). Hakatere Conservation Park. 31.12.2023. Having a dog of my own was one of the best feelings of my life. Since I don’t have kids, my dog was my child and I directed as much love as possible in his direction. So, when I got the news (while doing volunteer work in Nepal) that he had passed away I was beyond devastated. It took me some time to digest that my little friend wasn’t around anymore, and once I did, I knew that I needed to find an appropriate place for my best friend to rest…

In his short time on this earth my dog helped me get back into the outdoors. My injury slowed my outdoor escapades and without the outdoors I am just not me. Thanks to my dog my life was able to continue with some form of normality. I got to a point where I thought I had re-sorted my life into a manageable existence. That all came to a crashing end while I was trekking on the other side of the world.

My flight back from Nepal was as sad as it was slow. I was travelling towards a world without my best mate, and it was a situation I wasn’t looking forward to. Arriving home and not seeing a little face waiting at the door rebroke my already shattered heart. Life wasn’t ever going to be the same, as I had really started to get used to having a sidekick with me on my mountain missions.

Sadness isn’t very motivating, and I went from my Nepal training to nothing. Hill climbing to couch occupying. Doing a lot to very little. So for someone who spent more time out in the hills than in civilization, my mental health was in a state of decline. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as aware as my whanau was, and they weren’t enjoying seeing my sadness. I needed to get out and I needed to do it asap.

Not long after returning to Christchurch I received Ernie’s ashes and I was put into a situation where I knew I needed to do something special with them, I just didn’t know what. After heading down to my home in Te Anau for a brief check-in visit and to spread some of the ashes in my backyard, I returned with a little bit more motivation. It was like the trip south slapped me back into the reality of the situation, and I decided I wanted to leave the rest of the ashes in an epic place, I just needed to work out where that place was.

After a sad scroll through the many missions Ernie and I had been on I worked out a location that was so obvious it was written on the map. Dogs Hill(1067m) is a large mound located on the southern edge of the Lake Heron Basin. This was where we went on our first outdoor adventure together and it seemed fitting that it would be the last place as well.

So, with everything set I just needed to find the motivation to get out and I would find that motivation in the form of a year change. I had found an appropriate place and with 2023 coming to an end I gathered my gear (along with Ernie’s ashes) and headed west to a place that has helped with my headspace many times before…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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