Wild Turkey’s and The Ashton Burn – Peak 1330m (Part One)

“On a Mish” #190 Wild Turkey’s (Part One). Ashton Burn Camp. Taka Ra Haka / Eyre Mountain Conservation Area. 8.9.2018. With another exciting and busy season in Patea / Doubtful Sound on the Fiordland Navigator looming, it was time for me and my old mission buddy Dylan to sneak into the hills while we still had the energy and motivation (usually never a problem for me!). Fate had put the two of us together and when together hijinx would ensue. So with an adventure in mind two turkeys headed into the wild with the goal of a good mish…

I had never ventured into the Eyre Mountains from the south before though I have climbed the peaks on the northern side, which ironically is harder to get to. Access to the south is via the Von Road which weaves and winds through the Von Valley to the western edge of Lake Wakatipu and to Walter Peak and Mt Nicholas. A work trip to the restaurant at Walter Peak Station with the Navigator boat crew got me thinking about the missions to be had in this barren mountainous area.

Gear and grub was sorted in Te Anau and then it was time to hit the old dusty trail (literally). The short drive from one place in paradise to another was over in a flash, and it was time to get stuck into an outing we were looking forward to.

Crossing the Oreti Plains with Peak 1330m Top Right

We had planned to camp somewhere near the Ashton Burn (river), then climb a small peak (Peak 1330m) in the Eyre Range to the south of our camp the next day. The weather gods were on our side as the forecast was crisp and clear for the next couple of days.

The surprisingly warm September day made the many creek, stream and eventually river crossings more bearable, although nothing is enjoyable about having cold muddy water take over the dryness of your boots.

Within an hour we had crossed the open plains of the Upper Oreti Valley, and were now both looking at the rushing clear water of the Ashton Burn. If there was any part of our feet somehow still dry this was going to finish the job. We crossed the river to the true left and made our way up the Ashton Burn Valley to a large clearing. The area was perfect, almost too perfect for our intended camping endeavours.

With the mountains now all around us we took a few seconds to take in the epic environment we had got to with relative ease. Pack off and tent up time. The campsite was set up so it was time to explore the area that surrounded our temporary home.

To get a better / elevated view we climbed to the top of a small knoll near the entrance to the Ashton Burn Valley. This gave us a bird’s eye view of our little tent-town and a small taste of what we would encounter the next day.

Once back down at camp it was time for dinner followed by yarns while laying on the soft tussock of the valley floor. Just two turkeys chatting beside the bubble of the Ashton Burn. The night was helped along by chance with a refreshing bottle of Wild Turkey – American Honey Whiskey. This bottle of golden liquid would inspire the name we would give to the peak with no name that we were going to climb the next day.

The sun retreated behind the Livingstone Mountains and as the stars appeared we disappeared into our tents to recharge the batteries for the next day’s mish…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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