Chasing the Sun (Part One) – Sunrises & Sunsets Around Lake Clearwater

“On a Mish” #369 Chasing the Sun (Part One). Lake Clearwater Village. Hakatere Conservation Area. 18.3.2023. With all the uncertainty in today’s world it is good to know that everyday the sun will rise and then fall. For me these two constant occasions are the cause for me going into the mountains. If the weather is just right the daily show can sometimes boggle the mind with the intense beauty of a good sunrise or sunset. Just as with guiding, I really enjoy showing someone something I find fascinating, and when they are whanau it makes the experience even more rewarding. It was time to show my Grandmother the benefits of being out in the wilderness chasing the sun…

My Grandmother‘s love for the little things in life has rubbed off on me in a huge way. If I enjoy something then I develop a passion for it and I believe a lot of that is due to both my Mother and Grandmother always shining a positive light on even the darkest times. Over time I have done my best to repay them with outdoor adventures, a currency I can deal out when required.

Nearly 2 decades ago Bev (my Grandmother) introduced me to a small crib in Lake Clearwater Village. Owned by some very close family friends, the little building has been my escape from the doom and gloom of society for many years now. And as doomy and gloomy as society gets the place will never stop being awesome.

As part of my ‘repay the massive debt goal’ and also part of a birthday present, I had decided to take Bev to the crib for a couple of days and my plan was to show her some epic sunsets and sunrises. For a couple of days we would be chasing the sun as it made its way over Hakatere Conservation Park.

Together we crossed the plains with a car full of food and optimism. The forecast was for fine weather for the first evening and the next day. This covered the first part of the expedition and on the last day there was rain predicted. We were very excited to get out of cellphone coverage and into the foothills at Mt Somers Village.

At about 7pm that evening I glanced outside to see the show had started, so I hurried my 86 year old mission buddy into the car and we drove to a point overlooking the lake, and more importantly looking west towards the Southern Alps and the sunset.

We took some pictures, and as good as it was I knew the next morning would be even better. The day over, we retreated back to the crib to get some much needed sleep, as we would be up early-ish the next morning in search of epicness.

At 5am I had the billy boiling on the stove and the chill in the air had me loading and lighting the fireplace. We would need the place to be warm when we got back from our early morning outing.

There was a hint of a frost in the air as we clambered into the car in the dark, but the stars shining bright in the clear sky above let me know this mish was going to be worth it. The cold was something that was expected so we were both wrapped up warm and also had the heater doing its best to fight off the frigid air.

My plan from here was to drive to the Potts River then follow an old farm track I had driven on previously. I was hoping that I could get us out into an open area near the Rangitata, and from there we would have a perfect sunrise viewing point.

After crossing over the Potts River bridge I began to search for the rough track and as I began to follow it to where it runs beside the river I instantly realised the river had eaten away most of the track…

Looking west from our viewing location

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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