Snow Makes Everything Better – Eglington Valley Camp (Part One)

“On a Mish” #289 Snow Makes Everything Better (Part One). Eglington Valley. Fiordland National Park. 29.6.2021. I’m sure that most people will favour a hot day on the beach over a cold camping mission to a place covered with ice and snow. Cool, crisp and clean, an epic winter location will always make my eyes gleam. I have always been more interested in winter than summer, mostly due to how snow makes everything look better…

I think my love for the cooler days comes from my time playing ice hockey, where temperatures need to be cold to prevent the ice from melting. Early morning starts in winter forced me into the frozen world and for some reason I loved it then and still love it now.

On a cold day while hiking you can always put another layer on to warm yourself up, but on a hot day, once you’re down to skin you have no options and cannot take anything else off to cool yourself down.

Another reason I don’t mind a stroll in the snow is because of working a lot during the summer, and having my free time for missions during the winter. On these winter missions I have been lucky enough to take some of my most memorable pictures and have some of my most favourite moments. A landscape covered in the white stuff ups the epicness.

After I hurt my hip I had times when I thought my days in the wilderness were over. Luckily the draw of the wild was strong enough for me to work out ways to get myself into the outdoors while injured. Spreading my gear out over two packs, plus short hikes to very cool locations has been a life saver, and now that I was back down in Te Anau I had a massive backyard to take my new approach to camping to.

On a couple of rare occasions I have been in Te Anau when it has snowed. Mostly this has been at either the start of the summer season or the end. This has meant the snow has disappeared quickly, and been replaced by an icy slushy muddy mess.

With the ski fields in the south screaming out for snow it looked as though the stars were aligning and I would see the white stuff in Te Anau during winter. A cold, drenching mist had become the norm in Te Anau, and the town’s small population was getting pretty bloody sick of it!

The forecast showed snow was possible, and as the days went by the forecast got better and better with the threat of frozen precipitation falling not relenting. After heavy rain for a couple of days it looked like the wind was going to swing to the south and the township was in for snow to 100m above sea level (Te Anau is 200m ASL).

Just so I don’t get too disappointed I always think the forecast is probably wrong and that way if it snows I’m even happier. As I headed to work in the morning, rain turned to snow, and it was actually starting to happen!

Flurries continued throughout the day into the afternoon, then there was a break when the sun actually popped out for a visit. Fiordland covered in snow is a real treat I was hanging out for, and as we travelled to and from the glowworm caves we got stunning views of the Fiordland mountains west of Te Anau.

We were in for another snowstorm that night, and luckily I had the next day off work. Perfect! It was time to get excited and I began to think about going on a mish in the snowy mountains.

To my surprise the Milford Road was open to the Hollyford Road, so somewhere along the road was going to be my goal. I only had a single day off work and then the next day I started around mid-morning, so it was going to be a quick in and out mission. Just enough to satisfy my cravings.

As I began my drive I had an uncontrollable grin on my face as the area couldn’t look any better. The road took me to a spot I had checked out on the map where an unnamed creek flows into the Eglington Valley. Being near the road is a no no for both me and the rules, so to get away from it I followed the riverbed of the unnamed creek for about 30 minutes up to a camping spot at the base of the Livingstone Range which can only be described as pure epicness. I was in for an incredible night amongst the snowy mountains of the Eglington Valley

Snow Covering the Eglington Valley

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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