Post Storm Magnificence (Part One) – Snowed in at Lake Clearwater

“On a Mish” #339 Post Storm Magnificence (Part One). Lake Clearwater Village. Hakatere Conservation Park. 13.7.2022. Snow is a rare treat for most who live in Aotearoa New Zealand. Much of our low-lying land will remain snow free even during the harshest months of winter. But up in the hills the winter is tougher, and fierce flurries of fury will have the high-country farmers mustering stock to safer grounds. Even with all of the work involved I’m sure the stockmen (& women) and a lucky few others must pause when the skies clear and marvel at the post-storm magnificence…

Even though it makes travel tough, to me not much beats the crunch of fresh snow under your feet. I have always dreamt of getting ‘snowed in’ ever since I went to Canada as a kid. I remember seeing a large building nearly buried in snow and wondered what it must be like to be inside. I have always wanted to get close to my Canada experience but do it a little nearer to home. But after more than a decade of visiting Lake Clearwater every winter I had only witnessed a couple of days of reasonable snowfall, having only encountered the really deep stuff higher up in the mountains that surround the mountain town.

I had recently sat out a storm at the crib and as cool as the storm was, it wasn’t enough to close the road, so my ‘snowed in’ dream remained just a figment of my imagination. That trip seems a lifetime ago after repeat visits to the doctor and pain specialist had revealed a rather rugged looking, and poorly functioning, back and hip. It looked like my days roaming the hills were over, and instead of mountain missions I’d only be reliving my outdoor escapades through my NzHikes online stories.

I was lacking the motivation to write so I thought a change in location might help shake up my brain. And where better to find inspiration than the crib at the magnificent Lake Clearwater Village? As a bonus my visit was going to coincide with another apparent ‘significant weather event’. It sounded cool, but this type of forecast hadn’t produced the goods in the past, so I did not let my hopes get away with me.

I left late in the afternoon with plans to stay three nights at the crib. The car was chock full of gear, food and firewood ready for what I’d hoped would be a few nights stuck at Lake Clearwater Village. Absolute rubbish weather engulfed the car as I crossed the Canterbury Plains and at this stage it seemed too warm for snow.

After unloading the car, sparking up the fire and settling in I kept peering out of the window at the fading day, hoping to see a flake or two fall. It was not long after dark that there was a slight wind change, then a silence only heard when the sky is about to dump its payload of the snowy white stuff. It got very cold outside and then what started as a single flake falling soon turned into many more, and before long I was witness to a whiteout. Would this finally be the time it REALLY snowed for me at Lake Clearwater Village

Hakatere Conservation Park Post Storm

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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