Conflicting Reports (Part One). Hakatere Conservation Park

“On a Mish” #374 Conflicting Reports (Part One). Mt Hutt Range. Hakatere Conservation Park. 28.4.2023. My rocky road to recovery has been made a lot easier with the addition of an excellent sidekick (or am I the sidekick?). Working in many roles, Ernie has mastered them all. Whether it be exercise buddy, pest control or comfort animal, my dog was the missing life component that I didn’t realise I really needed. Now an intricate part of my outdoors kit, I need to make sure where I go is dog friendly as well as epic. On a recent trip into the mountains I did some research and it would appear that after returning I have found some conflicting reports of the area I would visit…

Like a series of waves crashing onto the sand, my recovery would build in improvements but then I would slip back a bit off the beach of life. The slight trips backwards have been at times soul crushing, and it has been during the down times that my dog has helped brighten my mood. The coolest comfort creature in Canterbury!

I was in need of a mish after a couple of setbacks and of course Ernie would be right by my side (or running away if I let go of his lead!). With the help of the internet I found the ‘Black Hill Range / Mt Hutt Hunting Block’ where dogs are allowed if under control at all times. This was perfect as the map incorporated some of the Mt Hutt Road and after more than three years of not being able to climb mountains, having a road to gain the altitude for me is very, very good.

One of my favourite parts of a mish is getting ready. Knowing the location and then packing for the weather and environment really gets me excited. On this mish I was packing for two and I knew that only one in the party would be carrying the gear.

Just after lunchtime I began the quest across the Canterbury Plains towards the hills of Mt Hutt and the Hakatere Conservation Park. Cool and crisp with clear skies above was the forecast. That is what most outdoor adventurers dream of and it was the forecast that we had.

Everything was looking perfect and I was beginning to relax after a couple of weeks of tension.

A little bit of off-track camping would be a great way to regain my enthusiasm, plus the added bonus of epic views to snap photos would mean I’d return to the real world ready for the next battle. This mish started with a minor bump as I had to jump start the mighty Cr-V because I wasn’t keen to hike the hundred plus kilometres to the road. I figured that the hour plus drive would recharge the battery and the car would be sweet as when I was ready to leave the next day. Surely there wouldn’t be any issues during one of my missions??

The Mt Hutt Road is a legendary creation carved into the mountainside which gets you all of the way up to the ski field base building, an impressive feat considering it is around 1500m above sea level.

The area of the ski field is highlighted in red on the DoC map and it is obvious that it is NOT part of the hunting block. That was no worry for me as I was only going a third of the way up the road to the Scott Saddle Track which was clearly part of the block.

The two pack process I had used many times before was really the only way I’d be able to get the proper amount of camping kit up to the spot I wanted to spend the night at. And with my body in a state of disagreement I knew the short hike would be a challenge. Luckily I had a very enthusiastic mission buddy who was chomping at the bit to get going.

I rocked up to the start of the Scott Saddle Track and watched a dude with a gun and dog wander up the track and out of sight. This was a good way of showing me that the track was dog friendly (or so I thought). With an electrified 10kg ball of energy leading the way I took my first steps towards a spur with a view I hoped would brighten my mood…

Lights of the Canterbury Plains

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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