Its Not Going to Snow, It’s December…(Part One) – Upper Wye Creek Camp

“A Mish a Day” #204 It’s Not Going to Snow, It’s December – Part One. Upper Wye Creek. Remarkables Conservation Area. 16.12.2016. From a young age I have been fascinated by the weather, and living in New Zealand is a great way to experience all sorts of interesting weather events. Expressions like “there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing” and “four seasons in one day” are common amongst the hiking community of Aotearoa. And I can say from first hand experience, in New Zealand always be prepared for anything the weather can throw at you. On a lot of my missions I have carried many items of clothing like extra gloves, down jacket etc, and not even thought about using them. However, on a mission with my girlfriend (at the time) to the tarns in the upper basin of Wye Creek I was going to put my over-cautious approach to each mountain mish to the test…

The adventure began with a very sketchy drive up the Remarkables Road into the alpine world near Queenstown, above State Highway 6. The tail of winter had one last storm left, and this rolled through the day before, during the epic trip to the Wye Creek Tarns. The snow increased in thickness as I drove higher on the Remarkables Road, and just before the ski field’s base building, the car’s wheels couldn’t get traction on the road’s icy surface. I slid the car back down to a parking area a couple hundred metres down the road. This was a few tense seconds I wasn’t planning on, and I was happy to regain control and head back down to a safer spot at a lower car park. From here the climb up to Lake Alta, and the Wye Creek Saddle began.

It was good to be out of the car and on the mish, and together we began our adventure into the snowy environment. The overnight southerly blast had coated the ski field, leaving it looking like a ski-able day during the months of spring. For December the place was definitely looking more like it was June! We pushed on up to the top of the ski field and then kept going up to Lake Alta. At Lake Alta we watched a lone deer swim across the semi frozen lake, giving the appearance that the deer was being chased by something? Soon it became apparent that Ms Deer was getting away from the next blast from the southerly front, and she knew this was not the time to be frolicking around in the Remarkables Mountains. Having good clothing and equipment meant we were ready for what the weather was going to throw at us, but with that said we didn’t expect to be transported to the middle of winter! On the approach to Wye Creek Saddle the sky turned black, it began to snow, and once on the saddle we were welcomed to the alpine world with a face full of frozen, cold, ice-laced wind

Cold Camp in Upper Wye Creek Area

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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