A Mid-King / Mitre circuit during the roar
Easter weekend April 2022
For a few years now I have been wanting to do the Mid-King Mitre circuit. I had a couple of days free over Easter, and Easter Friday was going to be a good-weather day. I put out a message to the Wednesday TTC email group and had some replies from people who would have liked to join me but were already committed elsewhere. In the end, Ian Howat was the only taker. So just two of us.
We walked into Mitre Flats via the Barra Track on Thursday night.
Quite a few deer hunters were in the hut, for the roar. I learned that during the roar the stags become very keen on finding a female partner, abandon all normal caution and become an easy target for hunters. Remind you of the male of any other species?
We slept on the deck outside the hut, for the sake of omicron safety. There was almost a frost on the ground, and with only my very light sleeping bag I was awake with cold feet quite a lot in spite of wearing socks. The stars were just beautiful, however.
Up at 6.30 a.m. with first light. A cold breakfast and off by 7.10.
We met two hunters from Mid King Biv on our way up to Mid King peak and had a friendly chat. I had been concerned they might mistake us for deer, but they had heard our chatter from some way off.
We had already heard roaring in the distance below.
The climb from the bush edge to Mid-King summit was a bit of a struggle on the steep, densely scrubbed ridge, but there was great weather on the tops, with little wind and great views.
It looked a way to Mitre. North King, Adkin, Girdlestone, Brockett, then Mitre. Some steep little scrambles along the ridge.
We met just one other traveller on the way, below Girdlestone, heading south. Young, fit and going like a rocket.
The climb onto Mitre seemed particularly steep and quite exposed on the rock. Not a place to stumble. The big grassy face to the left would be less steep but more effort.
Lunch on Mitre at 1 p.m. I had been having some cramp episodes on the way and did not have much appetite. (Going too fast early on, not drinking enough, not replacing lost salts, a cold night).
Near the bush line on our descent, there was a deer. Not far away. Staring at us. Unconcerned. And then she wandered off slowly into the bush. Could she smell that we were not hunters? She had little horns. Do female deer have horns, like cows?
Back at Mitre Flats Hut, a hunter gave me a magnesium capsule. I was VERY grateful. Paid him back with two dark chocolate Tim Tams, for him and his mate.
He explained that, even with a large ‘rack’ of antlers, stags can move very quietly through bush. I wondered about supplejack thickets. He said they tilt their heads back and then drag the antlers through without getting snagged.
Back along the Barra, my cramp was much lessened. Arrived at the car under a bright moon at about 6.30 p.m., a little after last light.
A fun but a bit-hard-at-times day (for me).
Today, the day after, it is blowing 30 knots and gusting 50 at Baring Head.
Probably quite a lot more than up in the ranges. (M W-R) Ian Howat, Mike Wespel-Rose. [Video: see From Girdlestone - YouTube. Video and photos by Mike Wespel-Rose.]
- Party members
- Ian Howat, Mike Wespel-Rose (scribe)