Snow Business – Part Two

“A Mish a Day” #20 Snow Business – Part Two. Hakatere Conservation Park. 25.6.2013. Sometimes things don’t go exactly to plan when going on adventures in the mountains. That’s ok as long as everybody stays in one piece and enjoyment is still the number one goal. However, sometimes the plan B hasn’t been thought through very well (as was the case on this mish)…

After getting an earful from an angry snowplough driver near Lake Heron, Chris and I had decided to head to the start of the track up to Pinnacles Hut (Mount Somers Track). To start with, the climb over Dukes Knob(739m) was through increasingly deep snow, but travel wasn’t too difficult. Things were about to change after dropping down into a very snow-clad Bowyers Stream. By the time we got down to the stream the snow depth was very challenging, and made going very slow. The beech tree branches in the forest were hanging low with the weight of the snow delicately balanced on top. I’ll never forget watching Chris hiking ahead of me as he ducked under a low hanging tree covered in snow. He lifted his head before clearing the naturally formed snow tunnel, which sent a huge plume of snow crashing down on top of him. Surprise, excitement, discomfort, his facial expressions said so much! The travel alongside the river was extremely slow and difficult, and with the late start we both came to the conclusion that pushing on to the hut was a risk not worth taking.

Bowyer Stream

After a brief discussion about the situation we had got ourselves into, we reluctantly turned back and began to climb back to Dukes Knob(739m). It was somewhere around this point where my locator beacon (which I had just been given, and was playing with) got ripped off my pack as I negotiated yet another low hanging section of the forest. The travel back up over Dukes Knob(739m) was a little bit easier as we were able to use our steps we had kicked in from the hike over. As we descended the track towards the car park, I decided we should take a short-cut, and instead of following the zigzagging track we would try a more direct approach. This was the ‘icing on the cake’ as far as hard work goes, and in hindsight not the best idea. As we smashed our way through the dense bush it was obvious the shortcut wasn’t saving us any time, and I think it probably added time on to a day which really didn’t need anything added to it. By the time we got back to the car it was dark, and we were both completely shattered from a day dealing with deep snow. Still an awesome experience in the Hakatere mountains, and a snow-covered mission I know both of us will never forget. After returning home I discovered that I had lost my beacon. I thought I would never see it again, but to my surprise a very clever person discovered it about a week after our snowy adventure, and they were able to get it back to me using the beacon’s personal identification number. Even though we didn’t get to any of the locations we were attempting to get to, the adventure was excellent and we still talk about it today. And even though things didn’t go to plan, I still think winter is awesome for hiking and I still am positive that snow makes for the best photographs!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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