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When we headed for New Zealand Elena and I had big hopes for climbing at least one giant of the Southern Alps, Mount Aspiring. But spring weather here has a mind of its own so we already knew the chances were slim of a perfect weekend. When our hopes evaporated we planned to head for the Lake Tekapō area instead. Then Elena got Covid…
Since we were not going to be around people, we decided to head in that direction anyway since our base for the week Dunedin had little left to see. Elena managed to find a small hike along the way for the both of us as a rest stop, Peak Hill. By the time we arrived at the car park, Elena was barely able to keep her eyes open so she opted for a nap while I headed up the hill.
The track starts off in a sheep field and it was a bit odd to me at first that I was hiking through someone’s private property. This would not go over well in the United States but the trail of hikers heading up told me this is normal here.
While the trail up peak hill was little more than a rough climbers’ trail up the side of the hill it offers an excellent view of the surrounding area. Farm land stretches out for endless Kilometers surrounded by steep peaks and lakes that glow amongst the greenery. It was a nice feeling being lost in a very different landscape than I am used to back home.
The ascent up the first portion of Peak hill was quick and the first section of walking along the ridge offered even better views. But by this point, there was a fierce wind kicking up over the ridge line.
It was not long before I reached a large group of locals that were turning around. There stopped me and let me know there was a very thin section of ridge that had a very strong wind and that everyone had decided to turn back at that point. While chatting with them I watched one girl get half pushed over before being arrested by her teammate and decided maybe the small summit just was not worth the risk for the day.
I returned with everyone else to a small spot along the ridge to have a snack and enjoy the view for a few more minutes before heading down.
The full hike seemed fairly easy for a fit hiker, but I suppose I will only know for sure if I ever return to the area while the wind is a bit calmer.
Despite coming short of the summit on this outing, I was able to walk the Mount John Summit track later in the day for some even better views.