Can’t Cross That (Part One) – Long Charlie Spur(2024m)

“On a Mish” #56 Can’t Cross That – Part One. Long Charlie Spur(2024m). Whakaari / Richardson Mountains. Mt Aspiring National Park. 20.1.2014. Something we have no control over when in the wilderness is the weather. Sometimes it rains, and that shouldn’t be upsetting, you just have to carry on walking and learn to enjoy the pleasures of a stroll in the rain. However rain is water and water doesn’t simply disappear, so extra care is needed when dealing with rivers after heavy rain…

I had a rare spell of multiple days in a row without work glacier guiding for the first time in a while, and instead of staying in Aoraki/Mt Cook Village and doing missions there, I headed south to revisit an old favourite, the magnificent Rees Valley just out of Glenorchy. My original plan was to have another go at climbing Mt Earnslaw(2830m), but even before getting to the start of the Rees Valley Track at Muddy Creek car park I knew there had been a lot of rain over the last couple of days. With rain still falling I set off on foot up the valley, hoping it would clear soon. It didn’t but I didn’t let that spoil my wander up the valley, and with my hood doing it’s best to keep the rain out. I already didn’t like the look of the Rees River which was bubbling brown bank to bank. “I can’t cross that”. Because the Rees River needed to be crossed to access Mt Earnslaw it looked like I would need a plan B. After pushing on past the normal crossing point I continued as far as Twenty Five Mile Creek and now soaked from the rain, I decided to head up to the old hut and have a break from the rain. Escaping the rain would be easier said than done due to the hut being in a deteriorated state. The poor old hut only offered a little bit of shelter as the roof had been hit by a falling tree and collapsed at some stage a long time ago. Also at some stage someone had decided to use bits of the hut in the fireplace instead of collecting wood outside, an unfortunate fate that some of our huts face when occupied by inconsiderate hikers.

After a snack and gear adjustment the rain began to ease outside and then it finally stopped. By now it was late afternoon, so I decided to set up my camp on the same terrace that the hut is built on. After pitching my tent I was rewarded for hiking through the rain with stunning mountain after mountain slowly appearing through the clouds as they parted and disappeared as the evening rolled on. An absolute visual spectacle to witness as I started to dry out sitting by my camp fire. The scene was now set for an epic adventure, just where that adventure was going to be was solely up to the river levels the next day. But that was tomorrow’s problem, so with the stars beginning to shine in the clear skies above my camp I began to think about retreating to the warmth of my sleeping back and having dreams of climbing mountains

Lake Wakatipu From the Face Behind My Campsite

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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