No Water and No Jacket (Part Two). Clare Peak(1490m)

“On a Mish” #306 No Water and No Jacket (Part Two). Clare Peak(1490m). Takitimu Mountain Range. 3.11.2021. It is very frustrating watching your fitness disappear when injured. After hurting my hip I went from a big mission into the mountains every other week or more, to days of less than 200 steps. Over time the lack of movement consumed my fitness to a point where thirty minutes of easy exercise was a real push. Some might think that this would stop me from going into the mountains…

Nowadays I still have issues with my hip and back, but over time with a lot of rehab, I have managed to rebuild some of my lost fitness and can now feel myself slowly getting stronger. My frustrations turned to writing, and my writing has given me the motivation to not give up my quest of getting back into the wilderness. It is amazing what can be done on blind determination!

I could have sworn that the earth had tilted slightly to make the track up to the saddle between Waterloo Peak(1077m) and Clare Peak(1477m) a little bit steeper than I remembered. The hike really isn’t that difficult but my worn body was doing its best to slow my progress.

Very sweaty and a little worse for wear, I arrived at the top of the saddle and it was time to tackle the dense bush between here and the treeline (the location of my campsite). I knew this would be the biggest challenge I had faced since my injury so I really wanted to take my time and make sure to take care of myself while pushing through the forest.

Above Waterloo Saddle

The tape from an old hunters track helped my forward progress in places, but every now and then I would lose it and find myself bashing my way through another patch of thick ferns. Lifting your tired legs over patches of bush can be tortuous at the best of times and I was doing it with a bad hip!

Luckily I found the track again, and as the ridge narrowed the track became much more obvious. I followed a ridge that steepened dramatically just on the treeline, and this meant an exposed scramble to get to the spot where I wanted to camp. This one small section was easily the toughest thing I have done since my injury. Somehow I found the strength to drag myself upward toward easier ground. Thankfully I overcame what I thought was going to be the last obstacle of the afternoon. Sore, and with the odd bit of foliage hanging off my pack, I had made it to my campsite and my throbbing hip wasn’t going to let me forget what it took to get here.

The small area on the upper reaches of the ridge was exactly the same as it was the last time I was here back in 2018, right down to the location of the rock we had used to secure our tent to the mountain. This meant no looking around as everything was perfectly set up ready to go. Within record time I had my shelter sorted and now it was time to find some precious H2O. It was while I was getting everything in order that I realised I had left my jacket at home. Oh well, at least the weather was going to be ok, right?

The last time I was here there was a natural spring trickling out of some rocks on the side of the mountain. After stashing my gear in my tent I set off to look for some much needed water

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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