Snow Business (Part One) – Lake Heron Basin

“On a Mish” #20 Snow Business (Part One). Lake Heron Basin. Hakatere Conservation Park. 25.6.2013. Snow is a burden or a pleasure depending on who you ask. Something that can stop a working city, can also start business for a ski field. Some people hate it and the cold that comes with it, others relish the opportunity to go play in nature’s slip and slide. While plenty of people huddle around the heater I (and whoever I can drag along with me!) head out into the winter wonderland see the beauty that comes after a dumping of snow…

As a winter lover, I find pleasure in stepping outside in the morning and seeing my breath thick in the crisp, cool air. A stroll in the outdoors during the cold months is always an amazing experience, if you have the right clothing to keep the cold out. I love the crunch of frost under my feet, or the squeak of snow as it compacts and temporarily makes your boots disappear. The simple pleasure of a wander amongst the white stuff can leave you stunned in awe and wonder.

After Canterbury received a record amount of snow during the 2013 winter, I knew that I had to get amongst it. I knew the scenery would be incredible, so I needed a mission buddy. By coincidence my jet-setting cousin was in town, and I finally had an opportunity to go for a mission with him into the Hakatere Mountains.

The plan was to take our snowboards up to Double Hut and shred the slopes of the Taylor Range behind it. The hut is in an awesome location near Lake Heron, and I have visited it many times before. However, on this occasion the place will be very different.

Winter has arrived in Hakatere

The drive across the Canterbury Plains was excellent, with snow right down to the toes of the foothills that line the western edge of the vast flatness that is the Canterbury Plains. We drove into Hakatere Conservation Park and then took the road towards Lake Heron. It was an incredible bluebird day and the snow twinkled in the sunlight. Fresh air greeted us as we got out of the car and readied ourselves for our adventure.

Just before we closed the car doors for the last time, we were confronted by a confused snowplough driver wondering what we were up to. The road was only open to residents so our plan of hiking to Double Hut was finished before it started. We needed a plan B and, luckily, we were in an area where there is plenty of options for a mish.

Our new plan was to head to the Mt Somers Track near Staveley and hike to Pinnacles Hut. As we followed the road to the start of the track, we could see that the snow was thick in the trees. But by now we had built up an invincible layer of stubborn enthusiasm, so we pushed on towards the next part of our wintery adventure. It was time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on some snow business…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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