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

“On a Mish” #389 An Appropriate Place (Part Two). Dogs Hill(1067m). Hakatere Conservation Park. 31.1.2023. I’m sure that many legends have had their ashes spread in the epic places they loved to visit. I know one day I want my forever home to be somewhere in the mountains, and what’s good for me is good for my much loved four-legged friend. With so many mountains to choose from I needed to find an appropriate place, and after putting some thought into it I realized the best place for my best friend was going to be on top of a hill with the name of his species…

In February 2023 I took Ernie on his first overnight adventure. We went to the base of Dogs Hill and enjoyed the first of many successful camping missions. I quickly worked out that a Jack Russell is the perfect camping companion and it seemed that from here a long life in the hills was ahead. Sadly, this wasn’t meant to be and as much as I hated it, I had to now return to solo outdoor escapades.

With mixed emotions and a busy brain, I crossed the Canterbury Plains and entered Hakatere Conservation Park. It was the 31st of December, so I knew I would be starting the new year the right way, I just had to get to where I wanted to go. Normally I would be pumped at this point, but I was feeling rather deflated knowing that a sad mish was about to begin.

I turned off the road to Lake Heron and on to the rough track to Paddle Hill Creek. I followed this to where it gets gnarly, and just like all the other times I’d been here, I marveled at the fact that a stock standard Cr-V managed to negotiate the deep ruts on my maiden mish to this area. I had a hike ahead of me that pre-injury I’d knock off before breakfast, but now it seemed like I was climbing a peak near Aoraki Mt Cook. But unlike on previous trips I had an important task to perform once I got to my target, and the only way I was going to get there was with effort.

I began and immediately felt the weight of my pack pushing down on my hip and back. This was one of the rare occasions when I would have the option of using two packs to reduce the strain on my weary body. I began my single bag mish by following an old farm track to the base of a terrace. This was my first climb, and the weight of the pack was dragging me back away from my desired destination. I instantly knew it was going to be tough, however this mish was driven by a goal which I had to achieve. I had many hours of daylight left, so I knew there would be a lot of stopping and starting.

I looked up at the small mound on top of the body of Dog’s Hill and knew this wasn’t going to be easy. I was going to need to use some of Ernie’s energy to get me to what I hoped would be an appropriate place to lay my buddy to rest…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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