A Dog & Bob (Part One) – Bobs Camp Bivouac

“On a Mish” #28 A Dog and Bob (Part One). Bobs Camp Bivouac(920m). Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area. 31.7.2017. As long as you can put up with the cold, the fresh crisp air of winter always makes for good hiking in my mind. No overheating and no crowds is just the type of conditions I crave, and during winter more often than not I find myself alone in the chilly wilds. Not surprising to most, I couldn’t find anyone of the human variety to go out with me in July, the middle of New Zealand’s winter. So I had to drag along one of my old mission mates who has no issues with the cold…

I wanted to go on an adventure with my mate Dennis the dog and this had me searching around for a track it was allowed to join me on. The track to Bob’s Bivvy is a ‘dog friendly‘ hike and along with the track to the bivvy, the Wooded Gully car park has many options for both dog/hiker to enjoy including Mt Thomas (1023m), Pinch-gut Hut (9 bunk) and Bobs Camp Bivouac (2 bunk).

Always keen for a mish, Dennis was waiting at the back of the car, back legs dancing due to his tail wagging relentlessly with the excitement of an adventure.

We had to make our way across the Canterbury Plains to get to the car park at the base of Mt Thomas(1023m), and driving towards dark clouds didn’t dull our motivation for a couple of days out in the snowy mountains.

From the car park Dennis dragged me up the zigzags of the Wooded Gully Track which gradually climbs through beech forest to the semi open tops.

It takes a little bit of effort to get up the track, but effort is rewarded with brilliant views in all directions. Once up there the walk along the open ridge tops and lightly forested peaks is a great way to keep warm, and also to keep the mind occupied while cruising along the well marked and cut track.

The clouds darkened the sky in the west as we hiked towards the hut on the calf and quad testing undulation terrain. The track times posted on the DoC signs are fairly accurate and luckily I had timed my mish so in the fading light we finally arrived at our desired location.

Just before arriving at the little hut the track descends away from the main track. The drop down to the hut is a little bit demoralising, as you know you will have to scramble back up to the ridge later.

But for now that was tomorrow’s issue, so we kicked back beside the unique open / outdoor fireplace and gazed at the stars we could see dotted above in the gaps in the trees.

After a good meal we were both ready to get some sleep so we retreated to the warmth of the bivvy. The little hut / bivvy is nearly small enough for you to stand in the middle and touch each wall, an easy task for someone with longer arms than mine!.

Because the hut is very small we were able to heat it with our own body heat, and we both enjoyed an excellent sleep in its cosy confines while we both recharged our batteries…

Looking east from the ridge above Bobs Camp Bivouac

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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