Blown Away (Part Three) – Kea Basin to Wright Col (almost)

“On a Mish” #46 Blown Away (Part Three). Kea Basin – Wright Col (almost). Mt Aspiring National Park. 28.1.2012. It is quite common to hear the expression ‘Blown Away’ when people are talking about New Zealand’s scenery. It is also common to hear of people being caught out by New Zealand’s notorious weather. The fact that we are just a small group of island alone in the South Pacific means the weather can change and notes must be taken when heading out on a mish into the outdoors. On a mish up the Rees Valley I did have a quick check to see what the weather was doing, however I should have read the forecast a little bit more than a fast glance…

It isn’t very long after starting off up the Rees Valley that you feel totally emerged in the mountains. There might be a farm in the middle of the valley, but he grand scale of the peaks that surround it make it more than just an ordinary farm. You just hope that the cows take in the scenery as much as we humans do!

After about 2 hours or so on the Rees / Dart Track you get to the point where you need to cross the Rees River itself. The river is no joke and finding a good crossing point is crucial if you want only your feet wet. I had been up this way before so I had a good idea of a good crossing spot. But with that said rivers like this always change where they flow so I needed to scan before committing. The low flow really helped as I found a place and then powered my way across the watery barrier. I was now on the right side and had a short climb before I would be at my first stopping point.

The Rees Valley is grand when viewed from the floor level, however the views get even better when you add in some elevation. The higher I got the more epic my world became. This was already an excellent mission, and I hadn’t really started yet. After zigzagging my way up to point just below the basin I got to Earnslaw Hut. The old hut is a relic from the past and to be honest the rock bivvy is a much better place to stay. Above the hut in Kea Basin itself I found the famous rock bivouac and was happy to park up for the night.

Low cloud had been slowly creeping into the basin as the afternoon and then evening rolled on, swallowing the mountains that towered above me. This was no issue as I had seen a lot already and I was now after some much needed sleep before I began the climb the next day. It was just before I decided to turn in for the night that Kea Basin really lived up to its name. I felt like I was being watched and I swung around to see the curious eyes of a kea watching what I was up to. The Kea is one of my most favorite creatures on the planet, so an encounter was an excellent way to finish my day.

Everything was about as perfect as it could get, and I was excited about heading up Pikirakatahi Mt Earnslaw the next day. Early-ish the next morning I woke to a slight breeze and high cloud rolling along above Kea Basin, I didn’t know it at the time but the weather was about to change and I would be in a rather annoying spot when it did…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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