Goodbye 2020 (Part 1) – Holts / Rolleston Camp

“On a Mish” #238 Holts/Rolleston Camp – Part One. Arthurs Pass National Park. 31.12.2020. With everything that has happened during 2020 I knew that I wanted to finish the year the right way by doing the thing I love to do. For the majority of 2020 I wasn’t able to venture into the hills / mountains as often as I used to. And when I do finally get the opportunity to venture into the outdoors my bad hip dictates how far I can hike with a pack on my back. Being angry or frustrated about my situation is only using what limited energy I have, so I have just played the hand I have been dealt and modified my missions to suit…

A place I have rediscovered during 2020 is the small yet action packed Arthurs Pass National Park. In just over an hour from Christchurch you can reach the outer eastern edge of the park. This was my first point of call post injury, with a camp on the tussock-covered terraces above the Waimakariri River. Acting as fuel to the fire I returned home and kept rebuilding my fitness and the strength that I had lost while stuck on the couch for months. Hiking with camping gear is a challenge when you are unable to put weight on your hip. Luckily I am reasonably obsessed with going on missions, so I have a rather large collection of packs of different shapes and sizes. Spreading the weight out with multiple packs has made it possible to venture a small way into the mountains, but the distance has to be limited as multiple packs mean multiple trips. After camping in the Waimakariri Valley I really wanted more. More missions into the park were made, including an epic night camping at the entrance to Andrews Valley.

Just after Christmas I drove over Arthurs Pass to the West Coast for the first time in many years, and spent a night listening to the rhythmic flow of Paratu Stream. I studied maps of the area, looking for a possible spot near the road, and decided on hiking alongside the Rolleston River to where it meets Halts Creek. Driving on the road over Arthurs Pass is at times a frightening affair, with some drivers seemingly provoking the grim reaper with insane overtaking of multiple cars on blind corners. Being right in the middle of the holiday season meant that many people were out and about, and it was good to see tourism in full swing in the little village that relies on it so much. After the village comes the incredible drive over the 920m above sea level pass, and the peaks that surround the road are very eye pleasing indeed. After descending into the Otira Valley on the western side of the pass I crossed over the Rolleston River and stopped at the car park on the other side. The area is grand, surrounded by very steep rock and snow capped mountains, and the excitement was flowing as I got my first pack ready…

The sun setting for the last time in 2020

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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