The Coolest Coldness – Part Two

“On a Mish” #292 The Coolest Coldness – Part Two. Upper Eglington Valley. Fiordland National Park. 11.7.2021. If you take time to think about going camping (especially during the winter) you might end up staying at home. Everything is wet, you will be sleeping on the cold rocky ground, and even simple procedures like brushing your teeth become challenging tasks. Winter really ramps up the potential uncomfortable factor. Everything that can freeze will freeze. Getting in and out of the tent means getting covered in frost. Cold / near frozen hands make simple tasks a real mission. But for some insane reason I really enjoy every chilly second!

I crossed over the braid of the Eglington River, and I only got a little bit wet. It was well worth it as the little island I got on was perfect for camping. I found a totally flat spot (a rare find in the wild), and the area was littered with driftwood from the river, perfect for a campfire. The grand open valley offered views only seen if you put in the effort to get to the area. Even though it was mid afternoon the sun had already left the valley, and coldness was starting to make itself at home in the dramatic landscape.

Camp in the Upper Eglington Valley

My cravings were well taken care of, and the views were pushing the limits of mountain beauty. The light behind the Earl Range slowly faded, and even before it got dark there was a layer of ice coating the outside of my tent. Getting a fire going was a little bit of the mission within the mission, but my hard work was rewarded once I got the only source of heat in the valley roaring. Sitting beside a campfire always makes me feel like one of the early pioneers making their way into the valley for the first time. And with frost starting to make everything glimmer, I thought back to Mackinnon and Mitchell in the valley on the other side of the Earl Mountains, cutting what was going to become the world-famous Milford Track. Here I am warm in my down and merino, whereas they were wearing wool and tweed, and camping using swags for a shelter instead of the latest gore-tex armored tent. After it got dark, it got cold. Little did I know, the night was going to be one of the coldest I have ever experienced in the mountains…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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