Cameron Valley Bivouac – Part 1

“A Mish a Day” #23 (Part 1) Cameron Valley Bivouac. Hakatere Conservation Area. 25.7.2016. My Canadian friend Cameron Rodimus was visiting Aotearoa and keen for a mission during the winter of 2016. I questioned his fitness, and he assured me he was in peak condition, and assured me he could follow me anywhere.

So we set off, firstly for a night at the luxury crib in Lake Clearwater Village (epic nachos!!). Then, after a far from early-ish start the next day, we drove towards the start of the track near Lake Heron. We reached the small car park around 11.30am, and in the midday sun we made our way up the valley following the Cameron Valley Track. We hiked, chatted, and had the odd break for a snack, always impressed by the beautiful location. The pace was slow, but I wasn’t too concerned as we climbed our way into the upper valley, and got our first look down towards the glacial moraine where Cameron Hut is located. Mr Rodimus’s speed was slowing as we continued into higher altitudes, and the snow got deeper and deeper.

The scene in front of us was incredible, with everything frozen, covered in winter snow. With the sun dropping behind the biggest of the peaks in the Arrowsmith Range, the temperature plummeted quickly through-out the upper valley. We had an important team meeting, and decided that I should go on ahead to the hut and drop gear off, then return to Cameron to help him with his gear. I left him behind, and set off as the sky darkened with snow clouds. By the time I got to the moraine where Cameron Hut is located, it was beyond the afternoon and well into the evening. It started getting dark quickly and snowing heavily, covering all the rock cairns that marked the way to the small alpine hut. Only by chance I found an overhanging rock perfect to sit the storm out under, and after marking the area with a pile of rocks on a large boulder, I returned back down the track. I eventually came across Cameron who was rather cold and swearing about his malfunctioning head torch (which I had let him borrow). I held his hand (not really), and together we forced our way through the now blizzard snow to the shelter of the large overhanging rock. We hunkered down and ate cheese in our sleeping-bags while the snow fell around us…

Upper Cameron Valley

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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