Mount Oxford - Somewhere Up There...
Let me set the scene. Two well-equipped, experienced lady hikers (of a somewhat mature vintage) turn back within sight of Mount Oxford's challenging summit, with the widest of smiles and the tiniest of regrets. Blast!
Head Gardener Climbing Mount Oxford
Hee hee. My friend and I had just climbed for nearly four hours through Mount Oxford's forest and up its rocky sub-alpine slopes. It was two hours since our first proper break, time to refuel. We balanced our trekking poles against a friendly rock, sipped our electrolyte drinks, and munched some calories. Just up there was the summit - only half an hour's worth (maybe less) of grabbing fistfuls of snow tussock and scrambling up rocks. We could even see the trig on the high point.
But we, being wise women, know how to celebrate and enjoy the journey - and how to look after ourselves. And so we rested for twenty minutes, gazing over the plains below, marvelling at how far we'd come, giggling at the weird cloud formations. Then we packed up, ready for the final scramble.
Oh no! Lots of low cloud had rolled in above us, over the tops and up the gullies. Within minutes there was no summit to see. Just like that! Kapow!
Somewhere, up there - not much point in keeping going, to see nothing. And it would take us (more specifically me, with dodgy knees that don't bend properly) close to four hours to get back down to the car. Blast! Giggle... OK, Mount Oxford, you big fat tease of a mountain. Not that this is in any way a battle, but I guess you win. And we'll be back. We'll start an hour earlier, just to fool your early-afternoon cloud-friends. Ha! Just you wait, Mount Oxford, just you wait. Well, you can hardly do anything else, can you?
Loved your humpy bits. And the stunning views.
Mount Oxford is the highest 'peak' in Mt. Oxford Forest Park, 56 km northwest of Christchurch, New Zealand. The track starts at Cooper's Creek car-park (elevation about 300m) and climbs easily but steadily to the top, elevation 1364m. Do the maths and be very impressed...