Klondyke Gold (Part Four) – Turkey Flat Camp

“On a Mish” #337 Klondyke Gold (Part Four). Waimakariri Valley. Arthurs Pass National Park. 7.7.2022. In this day and age we have the option of being able to take thousands of photos and it won’t add any weight to your mission pack. I have read stories of old school dudes carrying ten of kgs worth of camera gear for only a couple of pictures. Some of these pictures have gone down as very important snippets of time and the strain of weight was worth it. Knowing I have weakened and worn body parts means I need to go easy when it comes to my own outdoor escapades. Living in the age of light gear means even in my broken state I can get out and get some high quality photos without straining anything…

After getting my tent set up I needed a rest before I took on the short journey back to the car on the frozen side of the valley. Crunching through frost at four thirty in the afternoon was a testament to how cold the winter had been in this very chilly spot. I picked up my second pack and after fording the Waimakariri River for the last time I needed to do something to warm myself up, after a quick rest of course.

I spent the afternoon collecting some of the driftwood for a campfire and with each back and forth from camp I got a little bit more sore. Eventually I believed I had enough to get me through until I went to sleep so it was time to rest my weary body in a location that pleased my wilderness cravings.

The evening and then night was very cold and It didn’t take long before I could see tiny crystals of ice starting to form on everything exposed to the cold winter air. As cooked I my dinner I watched the little blue flame fight away the frigid conditions. I was happy enough encased in my winter clothing watching my breath which was thick in the air just like the steam that was escaping my cooking pot. I powered down an excellent dinner before the cold finally forced me to retreat to the warmth waiting for me in my sleeping bag.

The clear night meant the stars were on full display and this makes for a very pleasant view when scampering around in the dark for a midnight bathroom break. The constant sound of water can drive some people crazy, but if it only means you pee more, then I have no issues with camping alongside the trickle of a tame torrent!

Early-ish the next morning I watched the sunrise turn the sky lavender at first, before purples became reds, which then slowly turned orange and finally a golden glow of yellow before the world’s light was turned on. It was strange to think that a volcano in Tonga was responsible for some of the best sunrises I had ever seen. Just like how a volcano will produce rare and valuable minerals, I was mining the goods at the day slowly began to start.

The frost that morning was very impressive and really made me think back to the early explorers who didn’t have lightweight waterproof gear, but still managed to survive. I had a hot cup of coffee and only ten minutes later the small amount of water left in the pot which was boiling when I poured my drink was now frozen solid. The moisture my mouth had produced on the inside of the roof of my tent was frozen solid and this alone was an interesting sight. I would have loved to have gone further up the valley, however my hip was screaming after a night very close to Planet Earth.

I slowly packed up my camp and like the early gold prospectors, I knew I had got what I needed and would enjoy seeing my findings once back in civilization. My pack was packed and I made for the Klondyke Corner Camping Ground track. And with the ground sparkling like diamonds I packed away my own Klondyke gold and prepared myself to transport it back home… This mish was solid GOLD!!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

Subscribe To my newsletter