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

“On a Mish” #389 An Appropriate Place (Part Three). Dogs Hill(1067m). Hakatere Conservation Park. 1.1.2024. I have always wanted to spend my post life in the hills. To have my ashes spread where I was happiest would be the ultimate send off for me. So, when it came time to lay Ernie to rest somewhere I knew it had to be awesome and a place he loved visiting. I needed to find an appropriate place for my best mate to spend eternity…

When considering all the great peaks around Dogs Hill(1067m), this is more a mound than a sculpted pinnacle – unlike some of its lofty neighbours. But with that said the mountain is in a dominate position, meaning it can be seen from many places around Hakatere, and of course that means an excellent view from the top. I just had to get there first!

After clambering up onto the terrace I looked ahead at the much bigger climb which would take me up onto the mountain and to the base of the little knob on top. Step, step, stop. It had been a while since I had carried a pack up hill and the strain on my face was equal to the strain on my back, I hope what seemed like a good idea in my head is a good one when it is all said and done.

After getting to the top of the mountain’s shoulder I was in the full force of the wind, so now not only was I in a fight with gravity, but I also had to deal with strong gusts doing everything they could to tip me over. Step, step, stop. This form of travel has got me many places before, and I knew that no matter how long it took me it would get me to the top of this bloody hill!

Once on top I found a semi sheltered spot and then I set up my last campsite for 2023. As far as sites go this one was right up there, and because of the mission’s goal I knew this would be an outing I’d never forget. I sat out the rest of the night reminiscing about all of the good times I had with my dog and how much I missed him. I have had worse New Years Eve’s, but I don’t think I have ever had one this sad. Due to how tired I was there was no way I was going to stay up until midnight, so with the last light fading I retreated to the warmth of my sleeping bag for the last time in 2023.

At about 5am (early-ish) I burst into life, and I was welcomed into 2024 in the best way possible. Rays of light streaked across the Canterbury Plains into Hakatere and up to my little campsite. Many different shades of red and yellow played their part in the show, and all I had to do was sit back and watch.

Once it was light, I began the eye-watering job I had come here to do. On the top of Dogs Hill is a rock cairn and I removed the top rocks and dropped Ernie’s ashes into the cairn. It was a very sad end to a story much, much shorter than it should have been. Ernie and I had begun our overnight adventures on Dogs Hill and now our time together in the mountains was truly over. After a few words the job was done, and looking around I felt proud to have laid my best bud to rest in an appropriate place.

Now that was done, I had to make my way back to my car. Luckily, gravity was my friend on the downward journey, and it didn’t seem like too long before I was back at my car. On the drive home I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders (in more ways than one), and I knew from now on every time I visit Hakatere I would look up at Dogs Hill(1067m) and think of my special little dog and the big impact he made on my life. From that day on Ernie would be in an appropriate place overseeing the land he loved to roam around in. REST IN PARADISE Ernest D Wilson.

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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