Taylor Knoll Camp – A Small Hill With a Big View

“On a Mish” #121 Small Hill with a Big View. Taylor Knoll Camp. Lake Heron Basin. Hakatere Conservation Park. 18.7.2018. Hiking really is using your valuable time well. The multi beneficial pastime not only is great for you body, but it also has massive benefits for your mind. The meditative state achieved after a couple of hours on a mish is perfect for clearing a busy mind. Now more than ever (if possible) everyone needs to go on a good walk and then reap the rewards after you finish your mish…

The snow for our ski fields arrived late in the winter of 2018 (a common thing these days), so I needed something to do on my days off until we got some snow to play with. I wasn’t after anything too difficult or with a long approach, but I did want to use my tent and also have an epic view. With all of this in mind I scanned some of my maps for a mish idea. Finally I ended up with the plan of camping on a small knoll (hill) south of the Clent Hills Saddle in the Taylor Range, near Lake Heron. I was very lucky to have no wind and clear skies in the forecast, and this was key, due to how exposed my campsite was going to be. After the drive from Christchurch across the Canterbury Plains to the Lake Heron car park, I set off in the warm afternoon sun towards the Taylor Range. Success was achieved immediately as I began to take in the peaceful lakeside atmosphere. After a couple of hours of wandering I got to the base of the small knoll. Looking up at my last challenge (climbing the knoll) I was pleased with the decision made to get to this spot at this time. The last scramble to the top was a little bit more difficult than it looked on the map, but once on top the view was epic. The added elevation above the Lake Heron Basin was perfect and I knew I was in for a treat. I finished setting up my tent as the sky started to turn a creamy mix of red and orange as the sun began to set. A glorious sunset was replaced by a night sky only possible with zero light pollution, and I enjoyed dinner on a strangely warm July evening looking up at a sea of glowing dots that created a night sky masterpiece. Knowing I needed to be back in the real world by the next afternoon, I reluctantly dragged myself away from the world class sky and into the tent for a comfortable sleep. At some stage during the night the wind swung to the south, and the temperature dropped to something you would expect during July (winter).

An early-ish start the next day had me out into the frosty air to witness the first rays of light touching the tops of the Arrowsmith Range. Watching the Hakatere area come to life in the morning is a treat I have enjoyed many times, and it is something that always soothes both mind and body. After another quality mountain breakfast, I shook the frost off my tent and began to pack up as the day began for the small population of animals in the Lake Heron area. Once my semi-frozen tent was in my pack I headed back towards the car park at Lake Heron over the frozen ground with a huge satisfied grin, which remained on my face for the rest of the day!

Arrowsmith Range from Taylors Knoll Camp

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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