The Dogs Tail Camp – Part One

“On a Mish” #246 The Dogs Tail Camp (Part 1). Dogs Range. Hakatere Conservation Park. 30.1.2021. I’ll take a night in a tent over any fancy hotel. There is nothing like having a thin layer of material as your shelter, your own body wrapped in a sleeping bag as your heater, and the ground as your bed. The constant trickle of a mountain stream continues as the stars light the sky with an array of golden speckles. Add in the fact that you’re feeling the satisfying strain from the hike into the remote location you have got yourself to. Compiling all of my photos and writing about all of my missions has been an excellent alternative option during the time I have been injured

I have surprised myself with how often I have headed into the hills over the years, and keeping all the photos has been very worthwhile. One of my mates once told me I was New Zealand’s biggest cheerleader, probably after another one of my rants about how amazing Aotearoa is. I was very lucky to land a job as a guide on the Routeburn Track in 2008, and I haven’t looked back since. A constant need to tell others about beautiful parts of my country has kept me employed in all sorts of different locations throughout the South Island over the years. More recently, going through a lot of treatment and rehab has got me to a point where I can return to Te Anau and get on with my life.

Young Beffie on a mish with her Uncle

With Covid causing a halt to tourism in Aotearoa the path ahead is unclear, but I will keep marching on towards the goal of getting back into guiding. Walking with my whanau has been a way of recreating my days as a hiking guide, and unloading information about where we are walking has given me great relief. As I said I NEED to tell people how amazing New Zealand is. As my sister’s family and I began our hike I was taken back to my days on the Milford Track, with Benji suffering from blisters within minutes of starting, and the group traveling at a pace of about 1km per hour! Our hike towards the Dogs Range in Hakatere began with an uphill grunt, and the younger members of the party were finding the going tough. Like most difficult outdoor activities, after a certain amount of time you get used to it and just get on with it. Once we reached the top of the glacial terrace the going got easier…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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