No Water and No Jacket (Part Four) – Clare Peak(1490m)

“On a Mish” #306 No Water and No Jacket (Part Four). Clare Peak(1490m). Takitimu Mountain Range. 4.11.2021. On a couple of occasions I have had to deal with a weather forecast whoopsie. Luckily I treat every adventure as if this will happen, and this means I have everything I need to survive. Usually. But every now and then I forget the odd item of kit and normally it isn’t such a big deal. However if certain items aren’t packed then the experience can be much different than first expected…

While working as a guide I had seen people putting their down jackets to the test as they battled wild weather. This is a test the jacket will always fail, and now here I was shivering away in my wet down jacket fighting my way back to my tent. It is safe to say I was happy when I reached for the zipper and crawled into the dry refuge of my fabric fortress. Not the afternoon I was expecting but at least now I was safe and could warm myself up.

As long as it isn’t for too long, being held up in a tent during a storm can be an awesome experience. My poor tent has taken a beating during its time in my hands, but every time it has proven itself to be an excellent investment and I have sat out a couple of good storms in my Marmot Tungsten tent.

As I sat in my tent on the side of Clare Peak(1477m) I started to feel the big day’s effects on my body. Up until then I had been occupied by other distractions and now I wished I had something else to entertain me. Soreness aside, it was good in a way that I got hit by the unexpected snow storm, as I really did need to have a good sit down. Actually to be honest I was completely stuffed and was sound asleep by 8pm!

I woke several times during the night to the sound of wind and snow plastering the outside of my tent like buckshot from a shotgun. Luckily I was warm and cosy inside in my sleeping bag and the tent was deflecting everything that was thrown at it.

A magnificent sunrise in the Takitimu Mountains

Early-ish the next day I woke up and the wind had disappeared, leaving a frozen world outside. The wet snow had created an icy shield on all of the alpine plants and made the barren upper areas of the mountain look even more inhospitable.

I needed a coffee to both warm and motivate me out of my sleeping bag into an environment of wet and cold. It is during these times that I have to dig deep into the wilderness addict side of my brain to get some enjoyment. After a caffeine kick start I was up, and with very icy fingers I packed up my snow covered tent and readied myself for the trip back to my car.

I knew the first part of the mish was going to be the hardest, as I had to downclimb the exposed area which was a bit scary the day before, and now for added excitement it was covered in snow. Travelling backwards with a heavy pack and a big drop below is a good way to get a sweat up and a few short slips had me the most focused I had been all mish. After successfully negotiating the dangerous part of the journey all that was left was the bush-bash back to the saddle below Waterloo Peak(1077m), and then an easy trot back down to my car.

Lifting my legs up and over some of the downed trees and ferns took a lot of effort, and I was extremely happy when I spotted an orange triangle of the track and the bush-bashing came to an end.

The soreness in my hip told me I might have overdone it a little bit, but the smile on my face reminded me I had definitely done something right. With thoughts of the next mish beginning to fill my head, it was time to go home and rest my weary old body.

Now when thinking about the mish I can’t believe that, of all things, I forgot my jacket and also was in a situation with no water available. The world is a classroom and everything is a lesson. And it was during this harsh lesson that I discovered that it is much better doing a mish without the problem of having no water and no jacket!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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