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October 2015 Issue
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Backcountry for rookies

Descending Mt Guy. Lake Clearwater and township with the snowy southern alps in the distance. Photo: Dennis Radermacher
Hakatere Conservation Park
4hr return
Hakatere Conservation Area from Mount Somers Village by Hakatere-Potts Road. Park at the end of Mount Possession Street at Lake Clearwater township

Mount Guy, Hakatere Conservation Park

There comes a time for most trampers when straying off the beaten track provides an exciting new challenge. A few years ago I went through that phase and found Hakatere Conservation Park in Canterbury to be the perfect launch pad for my adventures. The barren terrain offers many opportunities for exploration without the risk of becoming lost.

My partner and I picked the easy 700m climb of Mt Guy as our personal starting point to the season. While basic navigation skills are required, a faint route marked with poles is reassuringly in sight at all times.

From the township at Lake Clearwater, we followed the four-wheel drive track around the lake. Soon after crossing the footbridge at the lake’s eastern end, we crossed the fence to the pole-marked route to the summit.

The terrain took us across a mix of the slippery tussock and loose scree typical of the region. You don’t have to be Bear Grylls to make it to the top but the track still requires good footwear, attention and a bit of respect for the terrain.

The route does offer views way beyond its level of difficulty, though. On the tops, the splendour of the snowy Southern Alps spreads out in all directions.

With dark clouds rolling in we returned to our car the way we had come, but on a friendlier day we could have crossed the second summit of Mt Guy and descended the north-western slopes to a network of tracks that all loop back around the lake to the township.

Mtt Guy packs a full-scale adventure into half a day of walking and is a fantastic trip for backcountry rookies.

– Dennis Radermacher