A Freezing Fool (Part Two) – Cameron Hut

“On a Mish” #99 A Freezing Fool (Part Two). Cameron Hut. Hakatere Conservation Area. 4.9.2013. Most pastimes are less committing than going on a good mish. For instance, if you like playing chess it doesn’t mean you must keep playing once the game isn’t fun anymore. On the odd occasion I have found myself in a position where I’d like to just blow the whistle and end the game, but this isn’t possible when you are mid mish and far, far away from any assistance…

After locking up and loading up my pack I set off in the direction of darkness. The top of the valley was shrouded in clouds and light snow was falling. I got to a DoC Sign that had information on it about the valley, and I could see that the sign had been plastered in snow which had then frozen in place. To say the Cameron Valley was cold that day would be very much an understatement! I began to hike up the valley at about 11.30am. I had started much later than originally intended, however with the idea that it would take four to five hours to get to the hut, I wasn’t bothered. Briefly the skies cleared a little and this gave me an excellent shot of motivation to get started.

I had got about halfway up the valley when the clouds closed in and darkness fell over the remote Canterbury valley. It started to snow again, and this would increase along with the wind as time went on. And speaking of time, four and then five hours of travel time had passed, and I was still nowhere near the hut.

About two thirds of the way up the track climbs abruptly onto a plateau which gives you an excellent view of the head of the valley. I could roughly see where I was going, however I knew that the snow and time were now working against me. It was late afternoon and the hut seemed just as far away as when I had begun. I paused to compose myself and have a drink. Nope, the water in my bottle was now frozen solid and my next drink would have to be at the hut.

I pushed on into the early evening and, with the windy swirling around and the light fading, I briefly cursed the freezing fool who would much rather be back in the crib beside the fireplace. Those thoughts had to be suppressed as staying positive was key and I had to keep telling myself that the hut was just around the corner, however I never specified which corner I meant…

Cameron Hut Mid-Storm

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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