Unexpected snow on the top and a bit of walking in the dark

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The weather on Saturday looked like it was going to be a nice one. So the ladies and I went for a little stroll up a mountain called “Mt Somers” to a big warm hut. We planned to walk the full loop, which meant two eight hour days. When we left with the weather forcasted it could potentially turn nasty on Sunday, so we decided to leave one car at the base of a different car park, which would mean one eight hour day on the first nice day and one three hour day on the icky day. There was still the option to do the full loop back if the keenest of us wanted to.

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It started out well, while the car shuffle was taking place, myself and couple of others who wanted to take our time walking up the first big huff puff of a slope started out first. The asthma of course kicked in, which I should of thought would happen – no exercise due to injured foot and weird stomach upset in the last month meant I was not in the best condition. I managed to keep it under control, by taking it slow and having quick rests. However as many asthmatics would know that can be pretty tiring all by itself! But it did get a little better as I warmed up.

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We had a great day, the sun was shining and the walk not too bad. We hit snow before the first hut (pinnacles). Beautiful, lumpy, iced over and all crunchy. We walked through a bit of it then had a brief rest at the hut before carrying on to the next one. We were about half way through the day at this point. I, to be honest, was wondering what the hell I had been thinking… but i carried on, luckily getting a bit of a second wind after some chocolate consumption. The last half was incredibly beautiful, cold and tiring.

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We got over the worst of the snow before dark, there was some miscalculation in times due to the last minute car shuffle and unexpected amount of snow, but, thankfully, we pushed out what could of been the trickiest part in the dark and had only to follow a wide obvious track when the sun went down. Since it was such careful slow walking I managed to mostly keep up with the rest of the group. Hoo-rah, not entirely humiliated.

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There was another guy walking the track by himself that passed us and he arrived at the hut just before dark, we worried him a bit with the need to take our time and maybe a few photos! But we made it, with an impressive entry as a trail of seven headlamps made their way down the snow covered valley and across a small stream to get to the hut. I was so happy we had made it that I broke out into a bit of a song. After a night of frivolity, eating and spilling my hot chocolate everywhere I happily lay on the mattress in the hut thinking about how warm and cozy I was. Its a weird euphoric feeling one gets when you have been cold and tired all day and get to drink hot chocolates with Baileys and Kahlua and eat yummy thai noodle soup and tim tams in good company. Perhaps its something to do with the contrasts. That and in my imaginings as we walked along in fading light I thought we might have missed the hut (not that there was a turn off in the track description or anything) and all seven of us were going to have to squeeze into our two, two man emergency tents. Lying in the warm hut was pretty bloody good.

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The walk out the following day went without hitch. Due to too many unknowns and possible large uncomfortable consequences the keen people in the group decided to go out the shorter route as well. So we all came skipping/stumbling down the mountain and piled into cars, dozed and quietly chatted as we made our way home.

I came home to pumpkin soup, scones and a warm and cozy dinning room with my man on his kitchen missions. Quite wonderful really. I might also add, we finally got around to putting the electric blanket on the bed. Although a fire risk, its sooo cozy!

Nina Valley in Winter

I went on a wee tramp/hike this weekend. Here are some of the pics.
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As you can see the first day was DIVINELY sunny and crispy. Lots of frost and leftover snow in little shady parts.
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My companions were very patient as I took numerous photos and took a few little detours to get nice shots.
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A night in a cabin full of boy scouts who behaved until they became comfortable with us, which was sooner than is customary since Rachel happened to be a teacher at some of the boys school (bugger!). Once that happened they decided throwing snow balls at us as we went looking for water in a stream in the dark down a bank, their aim was to scare us. I however tried to get them to carry the water buckets. They were not interested, which thought decidedly ungentlemanly. I then threatened to throw water at them, they saw this for the empty threat that it was..( one does not intentionally wet another persons tramping gear in winter.) I was reminded of my first tramping trips at that age with my friends and became quite nostalgic.

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Teenagers are very weird creatures. One moment they make sense and act normally then the other they behave like small kids. One boy was nicknamed “camp mother” because of his taking charge of the cooking. Directing his “minions” in the chopping, cooking and cleaning. This was not at all resented and just taken as normal. Moments before this he would of been struggling with cards giving himself a hard time for not getting something exactly right, appearing less confident. The next he is up, with authority directing everyone on their tasks…
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There was a light snow overnight.
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The Nina Valley flickr Set

Perhaps to add a damper on this lovely weekend I just wanted to not forget the family that recently lost some of their own in the NZ backcountry.