• Verity Jackson

Mt Guy Mid Canterbury

Sometimes the weather is great, sometimes not so great, then there are the times that you look at the forecast and decide to just go anyway. Last weekend was one of these occasions.

The week began with the first day of spring, followed by a substantial snow fall that even came down to sea level. Mt Hutt recorded their best snow fall of the year, Methven schools were closed, and looking from home right up to the Canterbury Foothills, you could be forgiven for thinking it was the middle of summer.

My plans to head up to Mt Guy on Saturday were looking interesting, on Tuesday night we had the tramping club meeting and I had to get up and tell everyone what the plan was. I had a rough plan, that was potentially going to change on the day, but I was resolved to head out regardless.

On Friday, I hesitantly checked the Lake Clearwater webcam, hoping and praying that I would see a snowish free Mt Guy…………and that’s exactly what I did see. Excitement was building and I rushed home from work to pay my day pack and get my food sorted. After looking at the camera I decided that I could easily get away with my small day pack as I would be leaving my ice axe and crampons behind for this trip. I wasn’t the only one in the group to make this decision.

Saturday dawned clear, crisp and chilly. We hit the road leaving Ashburton just before 8am and picking up two additional people in Mt Somers before heading to Lake Clearwater Village. As we hit Hakatere Corner, it was obvious we were going to be in for an exceptional day and the lack of snow that I had seen on the webcam was in fact true, only a few pockets remained.

We arrived at the lake and parked in the designated area, only one vehicle was already there and we could see them heading off in the distance. It’s great to see people out exploring and enjoying the Ashburton Lakes, so close to town, very accessible and a lot of options for all ages, fitness levels and abilities.

We broke into two group, my group were planning on heading up Mt Guy, along the top and dropping down the back to join Te Araroa Trail and the track back to the village. The other group were going to do the Lake Clearwater Track.

We headed away from the vehicles along the 4WD track, during the summer months this track is open and you are able to drive further around the Lake, outside of the open months the gate here is locked.

At the top of the lake a footbridge crosses over the intake and through another locked gate. Not far on from this bridge there is a sign indicating the Mt Guy Track, along with a stile crossing an old fence. The sign here says that it is only 1 hour and 15 minutes to the top. This really surprised me as everything I had read on the