‘Type II Fun’, something that is gruelling, a real test, even miserable while you’re doing it. But in retrospect, it’s rewarding and you want to do it again.
An early winter attempt to the summit of Mt. Alexander is a perfect example. Being early June, we thought we’d beat the snow and summit one last peak before the southern hemisphere winter sets in, but it didn’t quite go as planned.
The first day saw us meander up the valley and cross fast-moving waist-deep ice-slushy creeks three or four times, almost losing camera gear and slowly growing used to cold feet and hands. From the first night’s hut stay at Camp Creek we headed up to try to cover the last thousand metres of elevation to reach the summit in the early morning – the weather was perfect, clear skies and little wind and we moved quickly to the 1795m goal.
As we approached the summit it became clear the snow had beaten us by a matter of days, coming over the ridge we found ourselves in waist deep snow that took way too much time to move around, being steered by snow through a field of boulders of different sizes isn’t much fun. We decided to celebrate with a mountain top coffee, descend the same day and treat ourselves to another night at the hut.
Long drives up and down the coast looking for waves with Lachlan at the helm of the Terrano and Kate stretched out in the back.
Thermos of coffee and conversation passed back and forth. Sometimes the drives on grey days like this don’t feel long enough.
I’ve been enjoying vertical landscapes for the past three, four, maybe six months? Especially those with an interesting foreground.
New takes on old things.
The trip around the North Island was among some of the best I’ve had but somehow I didn’t get around to sharing it. That’s how it goes sometimes.
A focus of the trip was multi-day hikes, working out what works and what doesn’t, how far with how much, different packs etc. Taranaki was a good starting point with a three day walk. As I cooked dinner the night before departure I raced against the dwindling light, repacking cameras and camping gear in the crisp and remarkably still evening on a Sunday.
Before anything I needed to recharge, I only went part way north to where I’d catch the ferry to the North Island and stayed for a few days in a cabin by the river. The Wairoa Gorge is near perfect, no cell service, no worries (as long as there’s food and coffee).
Didn’t quite make it to the cabin the first night after work, slept alongside the Buller River to the sounds of three river branches meeting and greeting. Woke to low-lying cloud, fog and a refreshing dip in the torrent below.
I kept with me a Polaroid Land Camera 250 on this trip as well, which I was pleasantly surprised at the results. I’ll be doing a full review on this later.