Pain for Pleasure (Part One) – Island Saddle / Molesworth Station

“On a Mish” #221 Pain for Pleasure (Part One). Island Saddle / Molesworth Station. 20.11.2020. For some after a feeling is achieved the craving to repeat that feeling becomes a must do. That means that if you don’t do ‘your thing’ then you feel incomplete and this can lead to poor mental health. No one enjoys pain whether it be physical or on another plane. Having a broken soul is worse than a broken hip in my eyes and in order to get just a little taste of the wild life I had got used to I was going to have to put up with a little pain to get my pleasure…

I’d been doing very little for well over six months and it was really getting to me. I’d gone from go to woe in both my work and outside of work life. The two had been woven together and when I hurt my hip and back it felt like I had lost both aspects of life that I had grown to really enjoy. This took me to a dark place that I am happy to have climbed out of. It is lucky that I had a revelation that I live in a country where adventure and the wilderness can be found 5 miles or 5 metres from a car.

Looking south from Peak 1466m

By the time summer had rolled back around in Aotearoa I had gone from weeks when my step count would struggle to get to a thousand steps (for the entire week!), to car camping with the odd short hike, to short hikes with my camping gear in two packs to lighten the load on my weary body. Having an idea and my gear spread evenly has given me a new love for life and I am grateful I can get my fix again.

Multiple trips on reasonable flat land was good but it wasn’t the alpine life I loved before my injury. Going where only a few animals dare and only the hardest plants survive is an experience in itself, but if you spend more than a few moments you might understand why I must have more than a few moments near or on top of mountains. In Aotearoa there are only a handful of roads that climb high into the hills and the ones that do offer the unique opportunity of a head start on the climb. My recovery program was going to use these pathed paths for my alpine pleasure.

A place I really want to spend more time exploring is the northern part of Tai Waipounamu / South Island. We are really spoiled for choice and I have found many adventures from Arthurs Pass south. The fact that Arthurs Pass sits roughly in the middle of Tai Waipounamu shows that this place is awesome.

After scanning maps I was drawn to the alpine village of Hanmer Springs and the land that lay above it. I’d climbed the track up Mt Isobel a couple of times and remembered looking into the massive Molesworth Station, and a recent mish with my cousin in his Jimny had shown me how massive the Molesworth area is. On that trip we had stopped for photos on Island Saddle and I remembered how remarkable the barren felt. I could see a good spot up away from the road on Peak 1466m, however to get my pleasure I would have to put up with a little pain…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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