I stare at snowy peaks from my office window. Wellington isn’t the most mountains of cities, compared to New Zealand’s south island or the volcanoes up north — but when winter comes, even the 5,200’ peaks of Tararua Forest Park can look majestic with a dusting of snow. And that snow seduces me.
I reached my breaking point this week and cold-be-damned put a plan into action for Jess and I to ascend Mount Hector — the park’s third highest peak. To the snow dammit!
Just 90 minutes from the warmth of our Hawker Street flat, we arrived at Otaki Forks. Our breath like puffs off a stogie, we gathered our gear, double checked our almond butter stash and set foot up the mountain.
Each passing minute brought the need to shed clothing. The trail was relentlessly, brutally, beautifully up. The arctic chill was no match for our #hotbods. Down to just our budgie smugglers, we climbed and climbed until eventually we reached Field Hut where we dropped our bags and continued up the track for a better view.
We buggered on until the sun set. And what a sunset it was!!!!!!
Dazzled, we walked back to Field Hut in the dusk and then dark. In the hut we found two groups: one kiwi family – two young boys and a young mom who handed me a box of fire starting materials and said “go hard.” And a second family who spoke little english but drank lots of stout. I’d say they were German but they easily could have been Nigerian. Or Icelandish. I’m pretty bad with nationalities. The kiwis brought their dog Izzy who joined us by the fire once her family fell asleep.
More photos of this overnight sensation on Flickr.