A Wild Winter Wander (Part One) – Mt Guy(1319m)

“On a Mish” #77 A Wild Winter Wander (Part One). Mt Guy(1319m). Hakatere Conservation Park. 16.9.2014. Nothing makes you feel alive like facing a southerly blast head on. A wild wilderness wander can be an epic adventure – if you are wearing the appropriate clothing. Some might be thinking it is foolish to climb a mountain during a storm, but this mountain is only a stone’s throw away from a cosy crib with a fire blazing and hot shower awaiting…

I have often headed to Lake Clearwater during winter with the aim of being there during a snowstorm. Lake Clearwater Village sits around 700 metres above sea level and sometimes sees snow during the winter months. My aim on these trips is to get photos of winter at its wildest as the storm bears down on the tiny town, and then of the snow-covered peacefulness that follows once the storm has cleared.

On this occasion I timed it perfectly and, as I rolled into the village, I was being pummelled by sleet which soaked and chilled me to the bone. Luckily, I had that hot shower at the ready!

I woke early-ish the next morning to the silence of snowfall. I pulled the curtains back to see the ground twinkling in the moonlight. At this stage there was very little wind, and I was expecting to hike in a post storm wonderland. Thankfully the chill in the air was kept at bay by the heat of the potbelly stove.

Mt Guy during a break in the storm

The billy went on as I prepared my gear for my mish and made sure the fire was well stocked with wood to see out the time I’d be away. The sunlight was only just starting to trickle into the Lake Clearwater Basin as I took my last sip of coffee, today was going to be a good day!

Before leaving the crib, I made sure I was ‘over-prepared’ for the mission. There is no point suffering from the cold when I am so close to heaps of warm clothing. The weather might have been cold, but I wasn’t. I thought that the worst of the wintery weather had pushed on through but at this stage I hadn’t had a chance to look to the west, the wild wintery west.

The area was now awake with a new day well under way. Everything was now visible, but it was about to darken with the approaching clouds.

I got to see my objective (Mt Guy) and the sun even stopped by to say a brief hello. As I walked around the eastern end of the lake it was as if the world went into reverse, or the day was only about an hour long and it was already nighttime. The approaching storm clouds re-darkened the sky, and it began to snow. Some might choose to turn back and return to the warmth of the village, but I didn’t.

I got to the Mt Guy Track and began to climb into the snowy clouds above Lake Clearwater…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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