February 21, 2020
I did a winter trip to Mount Rufus in southern Cradle Mt National Park a couple of years ago but it is many years since I have visited this beautiful section of the park in summer. It isn’t a long walk to the mountain top from the busy Cynthia Bay tourist centre but I ran into surprisingly few people on the way up. Conditions were pleasant, not overly warm. Just nice for walking. On gaining the ridge leading up to the summit I was exposed to a bit more wind so I started looking for a sheltered spot for a place to set up camp. It didn’t take long to find a perfect little hollow tucked into the northern side of the mountain. I setup my Moondance 1 tent then slipped my camera gear into a daypack and trotted off down to a likely looking place for the sunset.
It’s always pot luck at times like this, if the clouds gather in the western horizon it’s a non event but this time they cooperated nicely. There is a place where sedimentary layers of sandstone have been exposed and this was my playground for the next hour or so.
Once the sun had slipped below the ridge line to the west is was time to return to my little red refuge and have a meal before slipping into the world of slumber.
I set my alarm for 5 am but the mist precluded any chance of worthwhile images so I had a rare sleep in. When the clouds did finally clear the temperature climbed rapidly and I sweated my way back to the car bumping into first an echidna and then a beautiful black and yellow tiger snake on the way. Neither of them seemed the least perturbed by me standing right next to them.
Back at the car I started on the second part of my trip turning the wheel to point me towards the west coast.
There is a beautiful ex railway line on the west coast south of Queenstown that runs down to Kelly Basin. It runs through the greenest of green rainforest and always gives up a couple of nice images.
But once again, it was really a bit hot and sunny so getting worthwhile shots was a challenge.
I walked down to Kelly Basin and back again, exploring the river bank on the way. Such a great way to spend a day, even if I would have preferred it was 10 degrees cooler.
The drive home was fun, I always enjoy the west coast twists and turns and traffic in the late afternoon was almost non existent.
Well into the evening I pulled up in front of my house and completed another escape to the wilderness . Always good :)
By photographer and Mont Ambassador Geoff Murray
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