Top Dog (Part Two) – Dogs Range Camp

“On a Mish” #80 Top Dog (Part Two). Dogs Range Camp. Hakatere Conservation Area. 29.5.2017. Getting lost isn’t on most people’s list of things to do, however it still happens. Returning to the location and getting redemption makes the mish even more satisfying. Standing on top of the Dogs Range was the plan, and now I was only a few steps away from achieving ‘Top Dog’ status…

After getting lost in the mountain range a couple of years ago I needed to get back. Now armed with maps and a total understanding of the area I was not only aware of where I was, I also had my tent with me. Just like the first time I was here there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but unlike my first mish here I wasn’t wondering where I was!

Old 4wd / farm tracks took me up and onto the wide open tops where I eventually stopped on the very top of Peak 1485m. The summit had a spot which only needed slight modifications to accommodate my tent. I moved a couple of rocks around and then before pitching my temporary home, I poured a victory drink.

After setting up I began to cook dinner with a kitchen view looking back to Lake Clearwater and the crib where I had enjoyed breakfast many hours earlier. As my food heated up the sun went down and the sky became an orange haze as the day came to an end. After the light left the area the stars took over and began their part in Mother Nature’s great and glorious show.

Early-ish the next morning I was up before the sun and as I fired up the billy for a coffee I got ready for part two of the show, sunrise.

The twinkle of each star and planet faded with the darkness as the light from the east signalled the start of another day in Hakatere. Before the sun showed its bright face the sky rolled through different colours. Starting with purples, the horizon then became red which then faded into orange, before yellow and then the big ball of heat crested the earth’s eastern edge.

After an epic start to the day I had to start thinking about leaving, and leaving a spot as epic as this was going to be a challenge. It was a case of admiring the view and packing my tent and gear up repeat.

With my pack now loaded I threw it onto my back and began the hike back to Lake Clearwater Village. I wanted to make the trip a loop by returning via the top of the lake and to avoid going over the same part of the track twice, I dropped off the summit and arrived at the Mystery Lake Track. I followed the track which took me off the range and onto the lumpy terrain of historic moraine, which made my legs wane under the strain of my pack.

The last section of the walk seemed to go on slightly longer than anticipated, something that happens often near the end of a big hike. I got to the edge of the lake and I knew I was close to the end of my adventure, so I slowed my pace slightly to soak in the last part of my mish.

After getting back to the crib I quickly gathered the rest of my gear and then began to drive back to Christchurch with the added addition of a new mission under my belt. This is a feeling I can’t get enough of and I knew it would be only a matter of time before I would be heading out on the next…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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