Follow the Poop (Part Three) – Waterloo Peak(1077m)

“On a Mish” #304 Follow the Poop (Part Three). Waterloo Peak(1077m). Takitimu Conservation Area. 7.10.2021. It is said that around 80% of mountaineering accidents happen after the sweet satisfaction of setting foot on the summit. I can say from my experience in the mountains that has definitely been the case for me. Whether it be a fall or getting off route, all the drama happens when you start your journey back towards safety. My plan to get me off Waterloo Peak(1077m) was to once again follow the poop of the animals that seem to be able to get themselves up, down and all around the Takitimu Mountains…

I stopped for a feed on the summit of Waterloo Peak – an incredible place to chew on a muesli bar. Views in all directions, and magnificent morning light were enough to put a smile on a man with no mouth! After taking in the rare sights I prepared myself for a bumpy descent to the valley floor.

I looked at the map and it appeared it would be easier to hike over to the mountain’s west summit, then down climb through the forest back to the Waterloo / Princhester Saddle Track. This decision took me off the poop track and all of a sudden I was in a very foreign area and few signs were in a language I could read. At least this time gravity was on my side!

I got myself into a real mess and my options were either steep terrain or dense bush. Thoughts of ‘I should have gone back the way I had come up’ are useless and won’t change the predicament. Like so many times before when out on a mish, I had to stay positive and keep the thought of finishing front of mind.

On the topo map I could see some fairly gnarly looking bluffs in every direction but the one that led me back to the ridge I had climbed earlier in the morning. To get there I had a tough sidle across areas of treefall and scrub. The sidle was a typical case of seeing easier ground, but to get there meant crossing over ground the opposite of easy. In places I would come across large cliffs that had been hidden by the forest canopy. Just before I regained the north west ridge (easier ground for travel) I came across an almighty landslide that had taken out a large section of forest. Crossing awkward loose ground is difficult enough, but add in a nasty looking drop and you have got yourself a couple of tense minutes. And now just to make things more interesting, my hip really started to get upset with the unnatural movement needed to cross the landslide. After a scary traverse I was back on the ridge and to my delight I spotted some deer poop!

Looking West from the Summit Ridge of Waterloo Peak(1077m)

Once again I was led by poop to safety, and I was filled with joy when I spotted an orange triangle and the track through the trees. The last part of the adventure was a short walk back down the track to Lower Princhester Hut and my car.

As I followed the track I could hear the first drops of rain lightly tapping the leaves on the trees. I couldn’t have timed it better, as just before completing the mish, the heavens opened up and the rain began to fall. I was very happy to finish as this was one of the longest non-stop missions I had done for a very long time.

I began my drive back to town with the wipers working overtime and a hip and back that had gone multiple overtime periods in order to get the win. I had to laugh as in order for my team of one to overcome the wild wilderness of Waterloo Peak(1077m) I had to stick to a trail of poop!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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