Will we make it? – Lake Sumner

“A Mish a Day” #188 Lake Sumner. Lake Sumner Forest Park. 30.7.2006. Like a child with blue cheese, it took me some time to get to like the taste of going on missions into the mountains. As a kid I was always encouraged to venture and explore, so along with my cousins that is exactly what we did. In my teenage years and into my early twenties it was all about cars. So there was no time for going into the wilderness, as there wouldn’t be any bridge-ported RX-7’s out there…

The old man (Jeremy Wilson) made a trip to Lake Taylor sound quite interesting, so we loaded up my Mum’s Honda CR-V, and headed north towards Hurunui Country. We turned inland at Waikari, and followed the Lake Sumner Road through Seven Hills over Jacks Saddle, eventually ending up at the end of the gravel road at Lake Taylor. We had read about the 4WD Track around the south side of Lake Taylor, which then continued to the much larger Lake Sumner, and we had heard that it was pretty gnarly. Having all our gear with us meant we would just go as far as we could, then stop and set up camp. The track was fine until we got around Lake Taylor, and out onto the flats between the two lakes. Side streams had flowed across the track causing bogs, and the 4WD traffic had created deep ruts which needed outside guidance to negotiate. We got to Loch Katrine, now feeling like hardened veterans of the overland travel game, and we were determined to reach Lake Sumner. Not only did we get to Lake Sumner, we managed to continue right up to the swing-bridge across the Hurunui River to the Hope Kiwi Track. Now it was time to set up our victory camp, and enjoy the spectacular mountainous environment that we had managed to get ourselves into. After camp was set up we explored the area, taking a walk to Hurunui Hut, and also crossing to the other side of the river. On the true left of the Hurunui River our great luck continued as we discovered a patch of field mushrooms, which we happily added to our campfire dinner. After retiring to our tents it began to rain, which wasn’t supposed to happen until around lunchtime the next day.

Victory camp at the head of Lake Sumner

Early-ish the next morning I popped my head out of my tent to see rain-soaked mountains covered in dark clouds. After a rushed breakfast, we packed up our wet tents, and began the long journey home, starting with the gnarly 4WD track. We both admitted to not getting any sleep due to worrying about the drive out, and with rain getting heavier the worrying hadn’t subsided yet. Once again I was out of the vehicle guiding Jeremy over the deep ruts, which were quickly filling with water. An hour or so of dodgy slipping and sloshing had us back to Lake Taylor in the mighty (stock standard) Honda CR-V, and time to breathe a sigh of relief knowing it was normal roads from here back to civilization…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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