Freedom Found (Part 2) – Wild Mans Hill(1856m)

“On a Mish” #40 Freedom Found (Part Two). Top Hut / Wild Mans Hill(1856m). Hakatere Conservation Area. 19.5.2016. It is difficult to explain to someone about how I find enjoyment in isolation and solitude. I have never had any issues going on adventures by myself and whilst walking the hills alone I have found a real sense of freedom. To be in a massive area of beauty knowing you are the only one there can sometimes make you feel a little bit greedy. On a mish up to Top Hut in the Upper Hakatere Valley I didn’t feel very guilty as the journey to the remote hut had me feeling like I had earned my own little slice of paradise…

The grey skies thick with rain clouds faded to darkness with evening becoming night. The temperature had dropped outside, making the fireplace the most enjoyable place to be in the valley that night, and in the cosy confines of the hut I drifted off to sleep to the sound of rain on the tin roof.

The next day I had a very enjoyable and rare sleep in, as heavy rain was still falling outside. The place was well soaked and the river was now brown and bubbling. A positive for the lone traveller during a day hutbound is that you are most likely to have the place to yourself.

I was finally dragged away from the warmth of my sleeping bag by the unpreventable morning routine so I got up to face the day, and the uncomfortable ten metre dash to the outdoor dunny. Apart from that I did very little but watch the light arrive. My lazy morning finished when the sun made a rare appearance just after lunch time, so I decided to go exploring.

With a break in the clouds I could see the drop in temperature overnight had lowered the freezing level, turning the rain up high into snow. It was stunning to see a blanketing of white covering all of the mountains surrounding the hut.

The brief break in the weather meant I could shake off my hut legs and climb up to the snow on Peak 2188m. The hike was well worth the effort and from my vantage point I could see the Ashburton Glacier weaving its way down from the cliffs and bluffs of Mt Arrowsmith(2781m).

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay up high for long as the clouds closed in again, so I quickly retreated back towards the hut. With the finish line in sight I felt the first drops of rain starting to fall, and even if I ran nothing was going to prevent me getting drenched by the afternoon showers. As I burst through the door of the hut I was happy to be back where it was dry and warm. Just like the day before I stoked up the fire and began to dry my clothing out.

I enjoyed another evening in the spacious hut by myself. As darkness gripped the valley a light breeze cleared the sky to reveal a star-covered ceiling over Hakatere. With not a care in the world I gazed up at the endless twinkles, knowing I had definitely found freedom in the Upper Hakatere / Ashburton Valley. I wonder if I could stay here for ever?…

Drying out in Top Hut

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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