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

“A Mish a Day” #190 Wild Turkey / Ashton Burn Camp – Part One. Taka Ra Haka/Eyre Mountain Conservation Area. 8.9.2018. After a couple of missions the WANT to go into the mountains turns into a NEED. This can be something that eats away at you until you fulfill this need with an adventure into the outdoors. We are lucky here in Aotearoa / New Zealand to have an abundance of wild wilderness to satisfy our cravings…

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 get into the hills while we still had the energy. I had never ventured into the Eyre Mountains from the south before, as I had always turned left onto the road to the Mavora Lakes. However a trip to Walter Peak Station with the boat crew via the back road definitely got me thinking about the adventures to be had in this barren mountainous area. Gear and grub was sorted in town and then it was time to hit the old dusty trail (literally). The short drive from Te Anau was over in a flash, and Dylan had the tunes cranking on his bluetooth speaker as we hiked our way into the Oreti Valley for the first time. It is safe to say we were the opposite of quiet hunters as we made our presence known in the peaceful open valley. 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 .

Crossing the Oreti Plains with Peak 1330m Top Right

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 stream crossings and the rush of icy water on the toes more bearable. 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 crossing 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… almost too perfect for our intended camping endeavors. 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. With our campsite now set up we explored the area around our temporary home. To get a better view, we climbed to the top of a small knoll near the entrance to the Ashton Burn Valley, and got a birds eye view of our little tent-town. It was time for dinner followed by yarns while laying on the soft tussock of the valley floor. The night was helped along by a refreshing bottle of Wild Turkey – American Honey Whiskey, and this would inspire the name we would give to the unnamed peak 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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