Whiskey with Snow – Part Two

“On a Mish” #305 Whiskey with Snow – Part Two. Whiskey Trail. Livingstone Mountains. Fiordland National Park. 12.10.2021. Sometimes if you break down a camping trip it doesn’t sound like much fun. Especially when the weather is doing everything it can to upset the experience. For some reason I relish in the challenge of survival in the mountains. This means I actually enjoy most things people find uncomfortable and unpleasant. Maybe I do it to make myself enjoy the comforts of home more, or maybe I am just a little bit crazy?

I had to bash the large chunks of snow that caused the beech branches to hang low in the forest above Key Summit on the Routeburn Track (The Whiskey Trail). And in places I had to be careful my pack didn’t get tangled in the foliage. It is safe to say I was happy to get back out in the open once I got above the final section of forest on the long ridge. Not long after escaping the forest I bumped into another human being. We were both surprised to see another person in the mountains on such a wintry day. I always like a brief chat with a fellow outdoor enthusiast and it turned out that Peter from Whataroa had been up in the hills for the last couple of days. He had a great sheltered spot on the edge of the forest and after a bit of banter, and to his surprise, I carried on up the ridge into increasingly darkening snow clouds. The forecast was for snow returning at night so I needed to sort out a campsite before the weather got too nasty. I arrived at Peak 1086m, a peak I had visited on my previous visit, and saw a small flat spot just below the summit.

Key Summit with Snow

The wind was much stronger than what the forecast had predicted, and with each blast I was sprayed with spindrift that stung any unfortunate exposed skin. I needed to escape the wind and snow, and to do that I had to find a camping spot asap. The animal tracks and scat in the snow showed me that the place offered a little bit of shelter from the harsh southerly winds. It was now time to put all of my tent training to use, as the wind was just waiting to snatch any loose items and send them flying. Most would probably think of this as a horrible situation to be in, but I had got here on purpose and was having the time of my life. For someone who just spent a long time recovering from an injury, this was a hundred times better than the 13 months I had spent wishing I could be doing this…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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