Chilling Out (Part Three) – Boyle River Campsite

“On a Mish” #384 Chilling Out (Part Three). Boyle River. St James Conservation Area. 11.8.2023. Chilling out is an excellent thing to do. The expression can make you feel relaxed as you can visualise yourself with your feet up and without a care in the world. However, the word ‘chill’ can sometimes literally send ‘chills’ down our spines. Sometimes if you venture out in winter the expression’s two meanings can be experienced…

The Boyle River / Village is located both on the road to Lewis Pass and also it offers access to the St James Cycle Trail. It can be easily missed as it can blend in with all of the other outstanding scenery on the road up and over Lewis Pass(863m). For me everything was new and I was the one holding up traffic taking in the views.

I pulled into the small camping ground just below the small mountain village which also has an outdoor education centre. If I was still a kid I’d be pretty stoked to come here on a school camp!

After parking up and unloading myself and my dog I instantly noticed the cold looking ground still covered in snow and frost. Before I set up camp I went for a walk to stretch out my legs, back and hip. The drive had been easily long enough to leave me feeling sore and stiff.

My walk around the area proved to be very beneficial as I found a much better camping spot about half a km or so from the parking area. The distance was just enough for me to be a little nervous about how my hip and back will act with transporting all of the gear that comes with the Jimny Camping Kit. With care I carried many loads to the epic little spot near the bubbling Boyle River.

After hiking the last load in I needed a break and a chance to take in the views on offer, and the views were Aotearoa at its wintery best. The benefits of braving the cold weather were plastered all over the mountains and as time crept on the setting sun added another layer of beauty to the incredible scene.

After eating dinner and chilling out for a while I prepared beds for both Ernie and myself. By now it was dark and my head torch was starting to reveal the twinkle of frost on the inside of the tent! It was a rather chilly night out in the mountains to say the least.

Early-ish the next morning I was getting a shower of ice crystals as I opened the tent’s frozen door. The still and peaceful morning was a welcome change from the bathroom I usually visit first thing in the morning.

After taking care of business I fired up my Jetboil and had a much needed hot brew. The stream from the water filled the inside of the tent and made no difference to the layer of frost that coated both inside and out.

After a couple of coffees it was time to carry the camping kit back to the Jimny and I noticed that my little sidekick had disappeared. I assumed that he would show up while I carried the gear back and forth. At one stage I caught a glimpse of him darting through the undergrowth and then I saw him making his way towards the highway! I called out his name and in classic Ernie fashion he looked back and then continued to trott in the direction the HE wanted to go. I had to think quickly as I didn’t want him playing dodge with the cars on the road. I jumped into the Jimny and managed to cut him off before he got onto the doggy death-trap. From that point on Ernest wasn’t allowed off his led!

I grabbed the last bits and pieces of the camping kit and then it was time to continue my quest north to St Arnaud. So far the mish had been outstanding (even with the late start and location change) and I knew from what people had told me that the epicness was only going to increase the closer I got to the little mountain village on the shore of Lake Rotoiti…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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