Summit Fever (Part One) – Beebys Knob(1442m)

“On a Mish” #389 Summit Fever (Part One). Beebys Knob(1442m). Richmond Range. 12.8.2023. The draw of a mountain’s summit is strong, especially when you used to aim for the top on most missions. Before I hurt my hip and back I used to get the sweet feeling of ‘ticking off’ another mountain, and sometimes I would plan the next mish on the descent. I got myself to a point where I would push myself to higher and bigger mountains, and then everything came crashing to a halt. I never lost the lust to lug myself to a highpoint and as my strength and fitness has slowly returned I have gone out further and higher. On a mission into the Richmond Range I discovered that summit fever would take over and a little bit of pain wasn’t going to stop me getting to the top…

St Arnaud is one of the most incredible places I have ever been. For years people would tell me I would love everything about the tiny mountain town, they were right!

My drive north with Ernest was slowed by the weather. Snow had closed the roads into the southern reaches of Nelson Lakes National Park and I had to rejig my plans to suit. Luckily Aotearoa is full of epicness and I travelled as far as the Boyle River Campsite, and although it was a little bit chilly we still had an awesome experience. However, this was only an entree before we got the main course at St Arnaud. I can say for sure that the delayed arrival made the location even better. If you haven’t visited Lake Rotoiti and St Arnaud then put it onto your list!

I found out very quickly that the Nelson Lakes area is not a place for our furry four legged friends and the locations Ernie and I could go were very limited. Hikes around the lake (Rotoiti) are a no go and my plan to venture up the Rainbow Valley was dashed by a ‘NO DOGS’ sign. With all of the rare wildlife and plantlife we have in New Zealand I can fully understand why we restrict where domestic animals can go. I’d be devastated if Ernie got his little teeth into an endangered bird.

I had to do some map studying and I discovered the bike, and more importantly, dog friendly Richmond Range. A good friend had told me how cool the range was and she would tackle the tracks on her bike. If a bike can do it then so can I, with the help of Ernie!

The closest track I could find in the range was near the Tophouse Village. This would take me up a series of zig zags which climbed their way towards the rolling tops. I was sure that I would get a good view from the top of the zig zags so I plotted a course and left the ice of the Teetotal Camping Ground behind me.

For years I have hiked the hills with no worry about the poisons that are used to control our unwanted pests. Nowadays I have a nine kg K9 by my side whenever I go on a mish, and this means I have to be very careful. After my short drive I arrived at the start of the track and for the first time I had my dog and also saw a sign warning people about a poison drop in the area. I thought my mish might be over before it started, but a quick check of the drop area showed me that the trail I was on had been hit by the poison drop. A small spot on the map was very close to the track so I wasn’t 100% convinced so I was going to have my eyes on the ground and hands gripped tightly on the lead until we were well away from the dropzone.

The mountains stood tall and the sun was out. The fresh snow that blanketed the area from the storm that had delayed my arrival was now working in my favour as I knew epic pictures were waiting to be captured.

After locking the car Ernie and I set off, and I figured it would take me about an hour to slowly shuffle my way up the zig zags and get the view I was after. My hip and back were still feeling sore from the drive so I didn’t want to go too far. Just to the top of the zig zags will do…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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