No Tent Required (Part Two) – Kaitorete Spit Camp

“On a Mish” #335 No Tent Required – Part Two. Te Waihora / Kaitorete Spit. Lake Ellesmere. Canterbury. 26.6.2022. In the past some very tough people have wandered the mountains carrying only a swag which could be used as both bag and shelter. Back in those days there wasn’t any lightweight, waterproof and easy to transport tents. It really blows my mind that these pioneers were able to cross our Southern Alps without the added benefit of all the modern gear we use these days. So sometimes, as if to transport myself back in time, I build my own shelter and therefore there is no tent required…

After finding a location at Kaitorete Spit it was time to build our little town and while the others put the tents up I began to construct my shelter. A location out of the Nor’west wind was key, so after finding the perfect little mounds that kept me out of the wind I started to gather driftwood. I used the wood to build a half moon shaped wall which I draped my tarpaulin over. The tarp was then secured in place using more driftwood. This left me with an open end shelter that I was rather pleased with. Now that I had somewhere to sleep it was time to kick back on the beach and watch the sky put on a show. At eleven years old, Benji has a very active mind and occupied it by powering through yet another book while the rest of us tended to our beach bonfire. After getting our fire roaring we cooked sausages caveman style on sticks over the fire. I find that the more effort food takes the better it tastes. So after carefully cooking our beautiful home-kill sausies over the fire, we enjoyed a well earned outdoor dinner. The setting sun turned the sky a lavender purple before the stars began to gather for a short lived get together over Kaitorete Spit. After the boys headed off to their tents I hung out on the beach a little longer, and as I did the stars vanished and the clouds arrived. A light sprinkle of rain overnight put my shelter to the test. And because I woke up dry early-ish the next morning, I guess you could say my makeshift beach shelter was an epic success!

Being an early starter was a real bonus that morning as the sunrise was not only stunningly spectacular, but also full of natural morning magic as I watched a low mist creep its way from the base of the Port Hills out to our camp at the western end of Kaitorete Spit. Eventually the others woke, packed up, and then it was time to bid our temporary tent town goodbye. The mid morning drive back to Tai Tapu was an excellent way to reflect on our adventure and to also make sure Benji had a good time and hopefully is beginning to become a wilderness addict like me! Another mish in the bag and this one (like so many others lately) was thanks to the help of Te Whanau. Along with their company is the essential assistance I need to help get my gear to a campsite while I wait to get my hip fixed. Heading out with these legends led to many laughs and a bloody good night out. Kia ora ka nui te mihi Te Whanau! Cheers lads!

Low mist over Kaitorete Spit and the Port Hills beyond

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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