No Water & No Jacket (Part One) – Clare Peak(1490m)

“On a Mish” #306 No Water and No Jacket (Part One). Clare Peak(1490m). Takitimu Mountain Range. 3.11.2021. I’m sure that the people who predict the weather do their very best, but sometimes when they get it wrong you have to deal with the consequences. If the weather takes an unexpected turn you can curse the forecaster, but you’re still gonna have to get yourself out of the situation. On a few occasions I have been promised sunshine and then laughed ironically as the snow began to pelt my face…

After giving my hip a good run for its money on an excellent outing above the Routeburn Track, a few weeks had passed and the need for adventure was at boiling point. According to the forecast a southerly front was going to blow through during the morning then clear to blue skies in the afternoon. This was easily enough motivation to get me planning a quick overnight mission.

Te Anau and Manapouri really are this country’s (Aotearoa) hiking capitals, with so many epic and close places to choose from for a mish. Many years ago I had visited the nearby Takitimu Mountains, and on that adventure my girlfriend and I had camped at an excellent spot just above the treeline overlooking the Waterloo Valley. My plan was to return to this spot to camp, then get up early-ish the next morning and have a go at climbing Clare Peak(1490m).

All seemed well as I gathered my gear and then fired up my car for the short drive to Princhester Creek and the start of the track through the Takitimu Range. Boots on and car doors locked, it is time to go “On a Mish”.

Lower Princhester Hut

Getting to my planned campsite involved hiking up to the saddle between Waterloo Peak(1077m) and Clare Peak(1490m), and then bush-bashing my way to the spot I had visited in 2018. A recent outing in the area had me up Waterloo Peak(1077m), and this gave me a rough idea of my hiking times to a certain point.

As I took my first steps up the track past Lower Princhester Hut towards my goal. At this stage I had know idea of what was hiding away at the southern end of the Takitimu Mountains, getting ready to unleash its wild fury.

A steady climb on a well marked track was a good way to warm up before tackling the off track section of my mish. When arriving at a point I remembered from my climb of Waterloo Peak(1077m) I was happy to see that I was covering ground with my full pack in good time. I guessed that my hip would slow me down much more than it had. I guess I am improving?

So far so good. The day was going well and as the icing on this cake I could see patches of blue sky starting to appear. This is what I love doing, and these are the conditions I love doing it in, I hope I haven’t forgotten anything…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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