The Dogs Day Out – Mt Oxford(1364m)

“On a Mish” #208 Dogs Day Out. Mt Oxford(1364m). Oxford Forest Conservation Area. 27.8.2010. A hike can definitely be enhanced by the company you bring, and on this adventure up Mt Oxford(1364m) I didn’t hear a single complaint from my two companions. This was my second time on the mountain, as I had climbed the iconic Mid Canterbury mountain on the western side via the Wharfedale Track Route. However this time I was approaching the peak from the south side…

The summit team was made up of myself (self-appointed team leader), and my two four-legged friends, Boston and Casper. All three of us were part of the 2010 winter assault of the peak, and all of us were ready for another mish up the mountain. We loaded into the car, and after some confusion over who sits in the front, and who sits in the back (Casper), we were off.

Boston and Casper

To start our trip we needed to head north west of Christchurch to Cooper Creek, and the car park near the Payton Lodge Scout Camp. Instead of worrying about walking both dogs, I devised a plan to have Boston walk Casper, and Casper walk Boston, and with the two dogs tied together we set off on our mish. We made our way across the flats containing the lodge, before arriving at the base of the south ridge of Mt Oxford(1364m).

From here the real mission began, as the track began to steepen, and the legs started to work harder. In a short amount of time we had gained enough altitude to start to see the first views out across the mass expanses of the Canterbury Plains. My hiking companions would zoom off ahead of me in places, and as I slowly followed, I could see their paw prints in the snow on the track. Every so often they would pop back to see if I was still coming. Once above the tree line we were out in the open on the huge summit plateau of Mt Oxford(1364m), and it was here that I got my first look at the dark clouds building in the west. There was no time for handshakes on the summit, as the wind was beginning to strengthen, and rain wasn’t far away.

We made our way back down the south ridge track, this time aided by gravity, and the fact that the dogs now knew their way back. Just before the base of the ridge the skies finally opened, and the rest of the hike was in light rain. This was no problem for the team as we were very close to the end of the track, and the end of the mish. It was great to get back on top of Mt Oxford(1364m), and the views from the top always make the effort well worth it. Last job left was to drive home, and – surprise, surprise – neither Boston nor Casper offered to drive home!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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