Long Overdue (Part One) – Mt Bruce(1630m)

“A Mish a Day” #82 Mt Bruce(1630m) – Part One. Black Mountain Range. Craigieburn Forest Park. 26.6.2019. The higher up a mountain you climb the better the view. This is also the same when it comes to camping. Having a mobile bedroom means you can set it up anywhere, and a room with a stunning view is what I always look for when I set out with my camping gear in my pack. Sometimes after finding an epic site, I will spend up to thirty minutes probing around until the perfect position is found. But on the odd occasion I have been forced, by weather or daylight, to set up my tent on the nearest flat spot available. So on my camping trip to the upper slopes of Mt Bruce(1630m), this is exactly what I was looking for. A room (my tent) with a view…

After escaping the city, I drove across the Canterbury Plains and into the mountains via Porters Pass, and ended up at Cora Lynn Station. It was a perfect clear still winter day and I was excited about the task I had set myself. Previously I had hiked over Lagoon Saddle(1180m) before I knew what I was in for, but that hadn’t dulled any of my enthusiasm and it was time for the next mish. I immediately went from glorious sunshine into the dark forest. The forest is pine to start with, and the lack of sunlight makes the floor bare of any under growth. These straight rows of pine are no match for the beauty of a beech forest in Aotearoa. After zigzagging my way up the side of the mountain I got to a point where I was above the treeline and the views were impressive to say the least. With the golden tussock slopes of Mt Bruce(1630m) in the foreground and the massive snow capped Shaler Range above, I had an inspiring sight to walk towards. I kept traveling west until the track swung south, and instead of following it to Lagoon Saddle(1180m) I headed directly uphill towards the flattest / flattish spot I could see.

Shaler Range

I found the perfect spot, but it needed ground modification to work. To make sure my tent was stable, I built a floor of rocks, which I then covered in tussock before erecting my tent. What sounds like an uncomfortable rock mattress turned out to be perfect to sleep on once I had put down my sleeping mat. It was late afternoon by the time camp was set up and it was time to sit back (on a seat of tussock, very useful stuff!) and watch the sun setting on the grand mountains of Arthur’s Pass National Park. The night was cool and clear with an amazing display of stars in the sky. Below were the tiny dots of the cars and the odd train crossing over the broad expanses of the Waimakariri Valley. At this point in time I was exactly where I needed to be…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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