Pretty Sweet Scenery (Part Three) – Sugarloaf Pass(1154m)

“On a Mish” #39 Pretty Sweet Scenery (Part Three) Sugarloaf Pass(1154m). Sugarloaf Pass to Te Awa Whakatipu / Dart River. Mt Aspiring National Park. 12.8.2010. Before our roads were modified into what we have today there used to be (and still are) crashes in places where the mountain vistas are so distracting that even the driver cannot ignore the awe on display. The sweet scenery can be a deterrent when you have a job to do, whether that be driving or sometimes following a trail, track, route through the backcountry of Aotearoa. While hiking up and over Sugarloaf Pass I was drawn in by the stunning sights. And the views, along with my competitive nature to get to the hut before others, had caused me to take my eye off the ball for a few seconds…

After consuming the sights and my food on the top of the pass with an Outdoor Education Group led by one of my friends, I took the plunge into the depths of the beech forest on the northern side of the pass. The dark forest was a dramatic change from the pass and as I raced my way downward I felt like things weren’t right.

It is important to always have an orange triangle in sight when hiking on a backcountry trail. Whether it be in front or behind, it is very important to not lose sight of what is a very important piece of plastic. I had to hike back upward before I worked out what was going on. Eventually I found the track and I could see where I had got things so wrong. The storm that had delivered the beautiful snow had also knocked down trees in the forest. It is funny how after a snowstorm is so calm when compared to the raging blizzard that had blown through before my visit. I picked my way through the broken and bashed section and found the track on the other side. I hoped my fellow hikers wouldn’t get off-track like I did but at least there are plenty of them when compared with just me. I can say from experience that getting lost with others is much better than when solo.

After a good day out I got to the hut and not long after I bumped into Diggidy. I told him about the big group coming our way and also how Sophie was the one in charge. The big backcountry world can be so small sometimes!

With dusk starting to darken the area the team arrived, with some looking a little worse for wear. It sounded like for some the trek was similar to torture, and this did make me question why they would be on a course like this in the first place!

The rumble of chatter in the hut eased off after meals were consumed and sleeping bags became the fashion choice for most. The complaints of crossing the pass changed to sounds of snoring and with so many in the hut there was no issue with heating.

Early-ish the next day Diggidy and I were up before the group. We wanted to get away before them so we could enjoy the forest to ourselves. Unfortunately our selfishness would lead us to an ironic wait.

It was a quiet morning in the Lake Sylvan area and after checking out the lake we headed back to Diggidy’s to discover he had left the lights on. There was no threat of the car disturbing the morning silence! Luckily we knew there were others heading our way and as the team got to the car park we simply held up jumper cables. While getting the car going we all had a laugh and, as far as place to get stuck go, at least this place had some pretty sweet scenery to look at while we waited for salvation!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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