Klondyke Gold (Part Two) – Turkey Flat Camp

“On a Mish” #337 Klondyke Gold (Part Two). Waimakariri Valley. Arthurs Pass National Park. 6.7.2022. To me a precious gem can be a quality photo of a mountain scene. To capture something that puts a smile on your (or other peoples) face, both at the time you took the photo and then when you look at it afterwards. This very visually pleasing country has some of the most stunning scenery found anywhere on the planet, and due to the lack of humans that live here, you can usually find a nice quiet place to enjoy all by yourself. Yes, other countries have beauty that can rival New Zealand’s, but very few places have locations where an easy stroll will take you into your own massive outdoor adventure playground, and it is possible you will be the only one there enjoying the gold on offer…

Still getting out into the wild world has been very important when it comes to my recovery. And recently I have relived the ‘glory days’ in the mountains without a huge walk to get me there. One way to get yourself through tough times is to do things that make you temporarily forget about your problems, and for me camping has been that very important thing. The problems might still be there when I get back, but at least I had a chance to enjoy a clear head for a while.

After driving along the highway from Christchurch to the mid reaches of the Waimakariri Valley I had to pull over to take in the amazing environment I found myself in. Looking up the valley I could see the Shaler Range wearing its white winter coat and even though it was now early afternoon, the glimmer of frost crystals remained in many places and sparkled in the bright post-midday sun.

Last of the Sun’s Golden Glow

Once onto the true left of the river I followed the small gravel track to a point where a sign read ‘No Vehicles Beyond This Point”. I do appreciate the fact that some Kiwis are willing to do battle with the mountains in their vehicles and from experience I can say unless you are doing damage to the environment, then it is an awesome way to see this epic little country. Although I usually end up walking in the upper reaches as the transport option is jumping around like someone threw fireworks at its feet.

Due to my continuing hip saga I couldn’t put much weight on my back and hip. At this point in my recovery I still didn’t know what was really wrong with me. To get around the risk of carrying a heavy camping pack I put my multiple pack approach to use. I had split my gear into two evenly weighted packs before leaving and with everything ready I set off with the first towards the relaxing murmurs and many braids of the Waimakariri Riverbed.

My first idea was to head across to the opposite side of the massive valley to a place called Turkey Flat, but after only a few steps I could tell that I wouldn’t be able to get that far without a great deal of pain. Luckily for me the views were plentiful no matter where you stood in the valley, so after walking around a kilometre across the riverbed I found a spot that was just right. Well I actually found about ten, and my biggest problem wasn’t my hip and back, it was where do I pitch my tent?

With the sun shining above and the mountains glimmering like a precious gem I could say I had struck gold, sweet shiney Klondyke Corner gold! Right, now it is time to go back and grab my second bag

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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