Awesome Undulation (Part One) – Mt Sebastopol(1468m)

“On a Mish” #403 Awesome Undulation (Part One). Mt Sebastopol(1468m). Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. 27.9.2015. Undulation can be a cruel beast sometimes when on a mish. You think you’re nearly at the summit only to find there are a couple more ups and downs to go. Or it could be a situation where the ground looks flat on the map, but when you tackle the terrain, you find it to be anything but. If you take the escalator in life, you will miss out on the satisfaction felt when effort is needed, and on the fitness gained while wandering the hills. Once you unlock the enjoyment of going up and down, you will find yourself searching for more awesome undulation…

During my time living in Aoraki Mt Cook Village I used to keep my fitness ticking along with mini adventures up Mt Sebastopol. The mountain was directly behind the flat I lived in, and it was usually my mish of choice when I had a couple of hours of free time or a cancelled trip guiding on the Tasman Glacier. So, most of the time the weather was rough, and it was more about the training and less about the views.

I worked another winter at the ski shop in Christchurch and after the snow melted, I had an opportunity to visit Aoraki Mt Cook Village on my journey south to Tuatapere, and a new job in a completely different location on the Humpridge Track. The two places have mountains (which is very important to me!) but are completely different in looks and feel.

When the time came to head south, I tacked on an Aoraki Mt Cook mish, and I was very lucky to strike clear skies during my time in my old stomping grounds. The place is always going to be nothing but awe inspiring, and a cloudless encounter with the colossal beasts that loom over the little town tucked away at the end of State Highway 80 is a dream come true if you are fond of jaw-dropping scenery like me.

I left Christchurch and drove across the flat Canterbury Plains with anticipation building, just like the size of the mountains that surrounded me. It is safe to say that Christchurch is the opposite of Aoraki Mt Cook Village, and I think that’s one of the reasons I am so fascinated in uplift. Growing up in a place that is mostly flat with the odd hill here and there makes you appreciate the size and scale of our biggest peaks.

Aoraki Mt Cook reflected on one of the Red Tarns

I arrived at the White Horse Hill Campsite after the sun had disappeared behind the wall of peaks that is the Main Divide. Winter was still lingering in the air, and this meant cold temperatures and a near empty camping ground. During the height of summer finding a spot to camp can be a bit of a mish, due to the place being over-run with tourists enjoying their own moments in steep peak paradise. It might have been cold, but a couple of other dudes and I were doing our best to fight off the cold and enjoy the serenity. It was worth it!

I had a bit of a lazy start the next day and enjoyed the warmth of my van’s bed for a few more moments than usual, as outside the frost began to work its wintery magic. Eventually I dragged myself out on to the crunchy ground, and after a very steamy coffee kickstart I was ready to tackle the day.

With coffee in still in hand I drove the short distance to the start of the Red Tarns Track which was still in the shade and twinkling with a dusting of ice. The chill in the air got me moving as I began to climb towards the tarns and Mt Sebastopol, which pointed skyward behind the loop track around the picturesque red mountain ponds. It was time to tackle some awesome undulation under the watchful eye of Aoraki…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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