When Very Little is Too Much – Lake Clearwater Village

“On a Mish” #332 When Very Little is Too Much. Lake Clearwater Village. Hakatere Conservation Park. 14.6.2022. The ability to move around should always be appreciated. Because you really do miss it when it gets taken away. Going from scenic summits to sitting around stationary has been a tough pill to swallow and just recently I have been told by my physio that the very little I am doing is still too much. I was given the unfortunate news that most movement would aggravate my hernia and I need to do the bare minimum if I want to live as pain free as possible. For someone used to going on long, tough missions it is hard knowing that very little is still too much for my broken body. As the soreness in my side (hip & hernia) increased I needed to go somewhere where I could find peace…

On my first visit to the iconic Canterbury mountain village I knew this would be a place I would return to over and over again, and as I made my way towards the foothills of the Southern Alps I (once again) could already feel the relaxation kicking in. The village and surrounding area is a place you can go to and do very little, or pick a peak (many to choose from) and push on to the top. On this visit there would be no mountains climbed, as rest and relaxation was all that was on the schedule. As if to keep me from tempting fate, the country had just been hit with a southerly blast and only the brave would dare venture into a countryside painted white.

Mahaanui / Mt Harper(1829m)

As I drove across the Canterbury Plains I got closer to the Alps, which looked impressive wearing their first coat of winter snow. Great for the ski fields! As I entered the mountains of Hakatere at Mt Somers Village I could already feel the wilderness starting to calm me, and this was I feeling I had missed over the past couple of weeks. The storm had produced a lot of snow up high, however strong wind was doing its best to remove any signs of the snow from the storm. As a lover of a good snow-covered, frozen environment I was disappointed at how high the snowline was. But as I traveled further west I could see that that was where all of the snow was. The bumps of the gravel road kept reminding me that I was here to relax and not to go on any alpine adventures. Up until Covid the village would usually be mostly empty during winter, however these days there seems to be more action and on this visit there were a few people around enjoying the surroundings of this remote spot. It was great to be back and, before unloading my gear, I took my time and enjoyed village life for a while. Over the next couple of hours I rotated between taking in little loads of gear and resting. Most of the back and forth from the car to the crib was wood for the fire, and with the outside temperature being a balmy five degrees (max not including wind chill!) I knew I would need every single piece during my stay. With the car now empty I began the job that I came here to do, and that is as little as possible…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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