Whiskey with Snow – Part Three

“On a Mish” #305 Whiskey with Snow – Part Three. Whiskey Trail. Livingstone Mountains. Fiordland National Park. 12.10.2021. A night of sub-zero temperatures with strong winds that will cut through multiple layers sounds like something most people will avoid. Most tasks are much more difficult and time consuming. And comfort seems like a distant memory. This is the type of situation I find exhilarating, and it really helps you to appreciate how good we have it when compared with the early explorers

Whenever I set up my tent and the gear that goes inside I always treat the situation like I am doing it in a storm. Now high up on the Livingstone Range, with savage wind and snow, It was time to put my training to the test. The first mission was pitching the tent. A task that is usually simple, but with high winds any false move could end in the loss of a vital piece of my moveable home away from home. It was a struggle that I somehow found enjoyable and luckily for me the training and experience paid off as I didn’t lose anything. I had to get the inside erected then put as much weight into the tent before attempting to put on the fly. After getting the fly on I knew I needed shelter, but most of the rocks were either buried in snow or frozen solid to the ground. I had to think of a plan B.

Lake Marian with a Touch of Darran Mountain Magic

After using snow to bury and secure my guy wires I had the brainstorm of constructing a wall of snow to protect me from the wind. As soon as I thought of it I saw my cooking pot and now had a way to create bricks of snow. It took me about an hour to build a wall, and afterwards the frantic flapping of tent fabric eased. I now had an escape from the cruel wind, and with some shelter I enjoyed my dinner in the harsh wintry environment. Just before it got dark I headed out for one last burst of photos and as I wandered around my elevated campsite I got a chance to appreciate how much of a benefit the tent really was. The wind had increased and it was now starting to snow harder than ever. Warmth seemed like a myth in this part of the world, and I was happy to retreat to the warmth and comfort of my sleeping bag as darkness began to engulf the area, just like the storm…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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