Solving the Mystery (Part Two) – Mystery Lake Camp

“On a Mish” #364 Solving the Mystery(Part Two). Mystery Lake. Hakatere Conservation Park. 15.5.2014. In hindsight it seems strange that someone would wander off into the wilderness on the wrong trail / track / path to end up disoriented and lost. I have learnt a lot during my time in the mountains and sometimes I have learnt the hard way. A cold night under a matagouri bush was punishment for my mistake, but I did enjoy the experience…

I hiked a section of the Te Araroa Trail which continues towards the Rakaia River in the north or back south towards the Rangitata River, and this took me to the track I had got lost on. It was good to be back, and it was a lot easier to move around with no snow on the ground.

I turned off the Te Araroa Trail onto the Mystery Lake Track which I followed for about an hour or so where I got my first view of the lake. Last time I was here the lake was semi frozen and the track around it was buried, making for slow nervous pole and foot probing so as not to end up in the lake!

I got to the western end of the lake and scrambled up to a low point between two mounds. There was the perfect spot with a slight angle I could use to my advantage.

It was safe to say I had got redemption on the area and now it was time to reap the benefits.

I slowly set up camp making sure I got everything in just the right place. After my tent was sorted I explored the mounds taking the odd photo until the magic moments of sunset began. And the show didn’t disappoint. This sunset was red over a burnt orange which blended into a lingering pink for a few moments before the night presented its stars one by one. The type of thing that would turn even the most anti-outdoor person into a wilderness addict like me!

Last of the Suns Light over Hakatere

Early-ish the next day I peered out of my tent to see blue skies infront of me, good. And grey clouds creeping in from the west, not so good. Knowing the damp punch they were packing made me jump out of bed and begin a hurried pack down while the billy bowled up the first coffee of the day. After sorting myself I loaded up and began the hike home hoping that I could out run the inevitable rain.

I dropped back down to the top of the lake and continued along the track towards the patch of matagouri I had slept under. Strangely I recognised the bush as soon as I saw it and it didn’t look as inviting as it did on the evening I had got lost. I was the opposite of lost now and wasn’t looking for any bushes to sleep under.

The last section of the track was alongside Lake Clearwater and like many hikes, it seemed to go on slightly longer than expected. I sighted the village and knew that relaxation was only a few steps away, steps I was going to take! As I began to trek through the village towards the shelter the rain arrived and began to soak the area.

My afternoon back at the crib was a mixture of listening to the rain falling, food and map studying, firstly looking at my recent and past journey. And secondly I was looking for the location of my next foray into the massive adventure playground that is Hakatere Conservation Park

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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