Conflicting Reports (Part Three). Hakatere Conservation Park

“On a Mish” #374 Conflicting Reports (Part Three). Mt Hutt Range. Hakatere Conservation Park. 28.4.2023. I was once camping in the magnificent Rees Valley in Otago when a helicopter first flew over my little campsite and then to my surprise it proceeded to land around twenty metres away. The pilot was on a quest to find illegal hunters, hunting in places they shouldn’t be in. After explaining that I only shoot with my camera his mood lightened up and we had a great yarn, with the blades of his machine spinning the entire time! The experience really enforced a habit to make sure wherever I go is ok with all parties involved. The internet is the normal go to these days and once on there I usually visit the very informative Department of Conservation website to see where I can and cannot go, especially now that I have a dog…

I had watched one of the best sunsets and now had seen, and I’ve seen a few during my time in the mountains. After the sun disappeared the stars appeared and from my unique location I also watched the lights of the countless farms and towns starting to appear on the never ending flats of the vast Canterbury Plains.

Along with the twinkle of the towns and farms I could also see the reflections of the many man made lakes that are now seen on many of the dairy farms on the plains. If I wasn’t feeling so sore I’d probably stayed up all night!

With it now well into the darkness of night it was time to retreat to the warmth of my sleeping bag and for Ernie it was time to put his knitted woollen jersey on, a gift created by my talented mother.

Early-ish the next morning both of us were up preparing ourselves for what we really came to this place for. Due to the plains there was an unblocked view all of the way to the point where the sun would appear on the eastern horizon. A darkness had light introduced to if for the first time that day the show really started to ramp up.

I had experienced similar views to this on the summit of Huatekerekere / Little Mt Peel on a mish, during the winter of 2011, and it would seem the sight had grown in spectacularness with time. A mesmerising purple blended into a fiery red glow. This then confined itself to one point which then became the yellow of the new day.

I had already experienced a bellyful of epicness and I hadn’t even had my breakfast yet! My food and morning coffee tasted so much better than when enjoyed down on the flats of Canterbury, and I savoured every sweet sip.

A quick pack down was followed by two quick back and forths to the car. I had been On a Mish and it was only 8am. With a full day still at my fingertips I strapped Enrie into his seat then readied myself for the drive home.

One turn of the mighty Cr-V’s key reminded me of the battery issues I had faced before driving here. I thought driving over one hundred kilometres would charge the battery, it didn’t. Ernie and I were now stranded on the Mt Hutt Road, we could be stuck in worse places! It would seem that luck was on our side that day as it wasn’t long before a car with a pile of bikes on it came rumbling up the road. I had already lifted the bonnet and layed out the jumpstart cables. Within a few seconds the mighty Honda roared into life and we were able to begin our quest back across the Canterbury Plains.

It was a couple of days after returning home that I would be doing some research for another mish and I discovered some conflicting reports on the DoC website. In one place the map had the area where it was ok to have a dog as long as it is under control at all times. This is known as the Black Hill Range / Mt Hutt Hunting Block. However when I looked at the page for the Scott Saddle Track it said ‘No Dogs’. I was annoyed I hadn’t checked the page, however I did see the page with the hunting block highlighted and because it showed I could hike the track I never thought to check the tracks page.

Another thing that made me feel like I was doing the ‘right’ thing was the fact that the mish began with watching a dude and his dog walk the exact same track as I would only moments later. For now I’ll admit I might have been in the wrong, but in the future I will check as many places as possible to make sure it is ok to have my little adventure buddy by my side!

Sunrise From Near Scotts Saddle

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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