Back for More Mish (Part Three) – Double Hut / Taylor Range

“On a Mish” #49 Back for More Mish – Part Three. Double Hut & Peak 1115m. Hakatere Conservation Park. 17.7.2013. Nothing like waking up wrapped up in your sleeping bag and seeing your breath in the cold air. It is like a battle between humans and the cold, and it is one you cannot lose when out in the mountains. Over the years I have grown to really enjoy the challenge of a winter outing, and to show a bro what I really love makes it even better…

The next morning was a very cruisy start and we eventually kicked the hut door open to see a light layer of overnight snow on the ground, as I had expected when the rain began to fall during the night. Before departing we loaded up with as much hot coffee as possible, and also enjoyed a fine breakfast in the grand winter setting. With the added motivational kick of caffeine we thought about heading outside, but then had one more brew for maximum warmth and boost. We began our adventure by crossing the South Branch of the Swin River, which woke us up far more than any amount of coffee could. Welcome to your winter adventure! After crossing the Swin we climbed up a snowy hillside above the river towards Peak 1115m. Getting to the summit went without incident and we decided to traverse the mountain down to the semi frozen Seagull Lake. En route we had to cross an icy snow slope, and what better time to learn how to hike on steep snow-covered terrain than now! Cameron learnt snow travel ‘on the job’ as we had to stay on our toes and kick very small steps into the ice to cross the 25m or so steep angled slope. Once across the danger zone we then glissaded down gently rolling slopes to Seagull Lake. The small valley where Seagull Lake resides doesn’t get much sun during the winter and the area feels extra cold and lacking any life. We took in the wild winter landscape then walked back over the snow-covered valley to once again cross the cold Swin River, before getting back to the warmth of the hut. Once back in the hut it was a repeat of night one, with food, drink and conversation which lacked any intelligence.

The next day required an early-ish start as our weather window was closing and the sky was dark in the morning as we left the hut. I enjoy watching the weather, even if that means I get caught out in the rain sometimes. To the west we could see the front making its way through the mountains, and it was only a matter of time before the weather repainted the area white. We made our way over the high country plains back to the car park and as we packed our gear into the car we could see across Lake Heron to a dark, angry sky. It was at this point we knew we made the right decision to leave early and move as quickly as possible! Another mission down for the dynamic duo, but little did Cam know his next mish with me was going to be one of the most epic missions of all time…

Crossing the Swin River on our way back home

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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