Last Light of the Day (Part Two) – Peak 1494m(Ailsa Range)

“On a Mish” #167 Last Light of the Day (Part Two). Peak 1494m(Ailsa Range). Lake Mackenzie Basin. Fiordland National Park. 6.6.2012. We humans are lucky to witness beauty like no other. A sunset painting the sky red or orange (sometimes both) is a masterpiece every time, and if you can add mountains into the equation then you are in for a real treat. I got the rare opportunity to work as the Lodge Manager at Lake MacKenzie Lodge and thanks to the fact that I lived in a stunning part of Fiordland National Park I got to see some of the best sunsets / sunrises in one of the most photogenic parts of the planet…

I got to the high point on the track and I could tell my idea was going to pay off. I turned off the track and headed straight up through the alpine scrub towards some bluffs below Peak 1494m. As soon as my upward travel was stopped by the bluff I spotted a short, steep gully leading to a point which I hoped was just below the summit. I had my ice axe with me in case I encountered any pockets of snow, but it was just as useful out of the snow as in. In places I jammed the axe into a point above me and this would steady me ready for the next move. Also I could test out suspect looking rocks before deciding on the safest way up. My axe proved to be vital as it got me above the gully and on to easy ground. From here it was an easy stroll to the rounded summit.

I timed my mish perfectly and from a rock on the summit I watched the sun setting into the northern end of the Darran Mountains. The elevation gave me a stunning view down the Hollyford Valley to Martins Bay and the Tasman Sea. The sea began to glow as the sun pushed down into it, and it really is times like this that I wish I had a better camera to capture the depth of the serenity on display. For now it was a couple of quick pics with my phone and then I had to think about getting back to the lodge.

I didn’t mind following the track back to the lodge in the darkness, but I really wanted to find the track before the place went black. I’m sure the last light of the day speeds up on occasions when you don’t want it to. I managed to locate the track and then in an ironic twist I didn’t even need my head torch as the light of the moon was more than sufficient.

Once back at the lodge I began to check out my photos and this was another reassurance that my mish had been a success. The pictures only captured a miniscule moment of my mission and even if the pictures don’t do it justice, they can act as a reminder to my brain about how epic the mountains around Lake Mackenzie are during the last light of the day. I was still very satisfied with my outing and it served as fuel for me to see more situations where light and mountains make a masterpiece. A sunset or sunrise in the wild is a remarkable experience. An experience that is definitely worth getting out for or worth putting in a little extra effort at the end of the afternoon in order to get the best view of the last light of the day…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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