Klondyke Gold (Part One) – Turkey Flat Camp

“On a Mish” #337 Klondyke Gold (Part One). Waimakariri Valley. Arthurs Pass National Park. 6.7.2022. As civilization slowly spreads over the rugged terrain of New Zealand’s South Island, we move further and further away from the bush and mountain life that the early Maori and Europeans first encountered upon discovering this great land. To simply grab a swag and go for a wander into the unknown is both adventurous and scary at the same time. Those who returned with a tale and new places on the map got the unique choice to etch their adventure onto the newly made maps. You have got to do something extraordinary before you get your name on a mountain…

As the brave pushed further and further into the mountains they looked for two things. Firstly, a way through the mighty barrier of Ka Tiritiri o Te Moana / Southern Alps so goods and people could travel from one coast to the other without the use of a boat. Secondly, a keen eye was always scanning for any signs of valuable minerals such as gold. Because of the possibility of finding their fortune, a lot of the early prospectors wouldn’t tell anyone where they were going so they didn’t risk giving away their claim.

The Frozen Klondyke Corner Camping Ground with the Shaler Range Beyond

Nowadays most (myself included) search the mountains for visual gems, and with a country as stunning as Aotearoa we are very lucky that you don’t have to look very far. Heading into the wild armed with a camera means you will always have a successful outing, and the pictures you return with are the gold that you were seeking. With a camera and a good attitude you can make any mish a huge success even if you don’t travel very far. This is important for the people out there who are less abled (myself included), as many of us would like to hike far into the wilderness but can’t.

I could just chill at home and watch the world go by as I receive more medical care, but that just isn’t my style. Giving up has never been an option to me so I have learnt to live with my ailments and have had to adapt my adventures to suit. This has meant that I have had some epic adventures without having to hike for hours to get to a campsite. I could go and stay at one of the many camping grounds we have around the country, but just like the ‘giving up thing’ a campground isn’t my style.

So with a craving for adventure I turned to the topo map for a little bit of motivation. A couple of weeks had gone by since my last outing so it was time to head to the mountains again, and on this mish I decided to head to Arthurs Pass National Park with my camping gear. I have had many adventures in the small national park and the place played a big role in getting me back into a good headspace.

My first proper solo ‘outing’ into the wilderness after my hip accident was in the superb Waimakariri Valley, and this huge area would once again serve as a location to keep my sanity in check. I had never been to Klondyke Corner before even though I had driven past it many many times. I could see a potential camping spot out on the wide riverbed and this got me pumped for a mission. So with a plan now set in stone it was time to go mine some Klondyke Corner gold…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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