Crying Wolfe (Part Two) – Wolfe Burn Peaks

“On a Mish” #53 Crying Wolfe (Part Two). Turret Range Traverse. Fiordland National Park. 6.4.2019. As a kid, and sometimes now, I would look at my neighbourhood like it was a skatepark. I’d picture myself grinding or sliding each ledge or popping a trick off each little rise or ramp in the concrete. This would keep my motivation up and it wouldn’t take long before I would be out on my board. The same principles followed me into my adult life but, instead of ramps and banks, I was looking at and imagining climbing mountains. In places I have worked I have looked at the surrounding peaks knowing it was only a matter of time before I would turn daydreaming into out doing…

Because I had a lot of ground to cover during my traverse of the Wolfe Burn Peaks an early-ish start was needed. I dragged myself out of the frozen tent and into the dark frosty air. It was a start to a day that only someone truly addicted to the wild could enjoy. I had to force my semi-frozen boots onto my feet while sipping every little drop of warmth out of my coffee, what sounds like torture is my happy place!

In the basin there are six peaks over 1250m, all connected by a moon shaped, undulating ridge. The ridge starts above Lake Manapouri and twists back around to Percy Saddle in a very up and down manner. My goal was to finish the traverse via the peaks above Percy Saddle and then walk back down the road to access my campsite. It was an undertaking I felt I was up to, so with visions of beginning up high I began my mish down in the valley.

I started by hiking through open forest, avoiding swamps and bogs in places. I needed to travel a short way up the valley to avoid the steep bluffs and cliffs directly above my camp. While crossing an open area I heard the trees rustle and looked to see the same Kea from the day before. I really hoped they weren’t checking to see if the coast was clear so they could begin to destroy my camp!

Mt Grey and the Green Water of Lake Percy

Easy travel became ever-steepening bush bashing. As dawn transitioned to day I bashed my way to the base of a gully which I thought would be a good way to get onto easier ground below the peaks. I was lured into a false sense of security by the tempting looking pathway, as what was easy at first turned into a steep slippery mess before I really took the time to realise it.

The water gut / gully became a series of cliffs, which meant I had to climb out into the bush and continue upward grabbing scrub and rock. My easy forest trot seemed like a distant memory as I started to pull foliage from the mountainside. Things had gone from a stroll to ‘wow’ very quickly. My calves and quads were screaming and I wasn’t even that far up the lower part of my plan. I hoped I wouldn’t reach a point where I would be crying above the Wolfe Burn!…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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