Marlborough blog | December 2022/January 2023
Third time lucky.
I climbed over Blind Saddle four times already in 2022.
The last two crossings were in July 2022, when it started snowing as I hit Blind Saddle. On my way back, snow was 500 mm deep where sheltered on the southeast side.
Before that was a rain-affected hike up the Clarence River to Palmer Hut in March 2022.
Snow won’t be a problem this time, but rain might be. It’s been wet ever since I left Nelson, although I had dodged most of it when walking. No massive falls were predicted in the next ten days, which was helpful when I intended to follow up three streams on this mission.
I’m heading north, down the Clarence River, this time.
Who could resist the idea of visiting Dubious Bivvy?
I might not make it there, but a few other more accessible streams were worthy of a look.
The climb goes on and on. When you think you’re at the top, Blind Saddle, there is still another 100 m or so of climbing.
Last night I was so tired from lugging my pack over the hill that I went straight to sleep for the longest time horizontal that I remember.
It’s big harsh country, and I have come to love it.
It was 7 pm when I finally started putting up my tent under a spreading willow tree down by the river.
It was a warm afternoon, and the lure of getting horizontal in my tent proved too much. Excellent camping conditions, although I’d prefer pure water.
Being a small bivvy, the accommodation costs are actually quite acceptable: free.
You usually regret not doing something, rather than doing it.
Some things work out differently from what you plan, and today was such a day.
Later, I wondered if I shouldn’t have a second New Year’s resolution: avoid narrow gorges, particularly lonely narrow gorges with numerous hanging rocks high above, plus having large jagged specimens in a steeply sloping creek.
Isolation. You may find that feeling creeping in at Limestone.
I thrashed around in some lawyer-strewn shrubbery that slashed my arms up fairly severely and, at that stage, starting to feel the energy expenditure, decided that little spot between two waterfalls was the best place to park myself for the night.
Despite travelling for hours under the continual threat of house-sized boulders, it all proved a great Little Adventure. It probably would only appeal to a particular type of maniac.
Never again, I thought to myself, but I’ve said that before.