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

“On a Mish” #304 Follow the Poop – Part Two. Waterloo Peak(1077m). Takitimu Conservation Area. 7.10.2021. On many occasions and in many different places I have marvelled at the foot / hoof skills of the introduced animals that now roam our mountainous terrain. Above the treeline was once a place only seen by the eyes of only the bravest of our native birds. Now birds like the Kea and Rockwren have to share their home with the introduced fauna. Luckily for me some of these introduced creatures would show me the way to the top of a mountain with their trail of poop!

To have the poise and confidence of a deer or mountain goat (Chamois or Thar) would be a skill I’d wish for if I bumped into a genie. To be honest as I followed the poop to ever steepening ground I wished I had a body working at more than 55%!

After a quick drink break I continued on my with quest to the summit of Waterloo Peak(1077m). Still sticking to the poop, I finally got above the treeline and the views instantly made the hard work and pain worthwhile. I figured that because I was above the forest the travel would get easier… I was wrong.

The ‘easier’ ground on the top of the north west ridge was only a couple hundred meters away, but the thick alpine scrub did everything it could to make those metres a slow scratchy hell. I kept with my theory of sticking to the poop, which led me to places where the deer would crawl under the thick bush, but crawling wasn’t in my repertoire at that point in time. In places I had to take the ‘human’ route, and this usually meant pushing through matagouri or something just as scratchy. Slowly but surely I got closer to the easy ground, and with a few extra scars I finally got onto a scree slope that led up to the ridge.

Before the last push to the summit I paused for another drink and a view break. From my elevated location I could see that the rain was now crossing over Lake Te Anau and about to hit the town itself. My decision of a very early-ish start was really paying off. For the first time that day I felt a breeze and I knew this was a sign of things to come.

The summit ridge felt like State Highway One when compared with the last 45 minutes of textbook bush bashing. Now on the exposed rock of the top I took the final steps to the summit and anything that had happened before this point in time didn’t matter one bit. I had finally somehow dragged my broken self to the top of a mountain again. I had a feeling of elation before it was replaced by mid mish nerves. I had got to the top and now I had to comprehend getting back down, and from past experience I knew that going up was the easy part…

Looking Towards Lake Manapouri and Fiordland

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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