We have taken the Arglins Road into Molesworth Station, the largest Station in New Zealand, we are not actually going straight though the station but skirting up the side between Molesworth and St James Station because we are headed for Lake Tennyson.
We aim to have a picnic there but as we get further up the valley it’s clear the the weather is deteriorating and there is a stiff wind picking up.
Soon we are at the Lake Tennyson turnoff and it’s a short ride from there to the lake.
Himself and I get out of the car first, the sun is at best intermittent and the wind is gusty and biting. So much for the tee-shirt and shorts weather we left behind in Hanmer, we pile everyone into their jerseys and windjackets and start laying out the picnic things.
The wind has whipped the lake up into choppy white caps in places and the kids test the water, it’s ice cold and they rush back to the car as quick as they can for some warmth. We have four visitors with us, three adults and one extra child and two of the adults are from the Central Pacific close to the Equator so they definitely aren’t used to these kind of temperatures. After a very brief walk outside they huddle back into the van and Himself and I deliver picnic goodies to them there.
We were planning to stay here for the afternoon but it’s clear that today the mountain weather has had the last word and it’s a good example of the fact that weather in the Alps can change by the hour and that people come unprepared at their peril. The warm clothing that was packed with a giggle by the kids in Hanmer is now most welcome and they aren’t laughing about bringing it all with us now.
After about half an hour the wind fills with raindrops and even though it’s not raining in the true sense of the word we are now getting wet from the gusts.
There are a few die-hard fishermen on the edge of the lake but even they start packing up as it becomes clear that the weathers only getting worse here not better.
By now even Himself and I are feeling the cold and retreat into the van with hot tea from the thermos to thaw out. Our other Kiwi visitor helps us with the clearing up and repacking the van, and we head back out onto the track to make our way back to the “main road”.
One of the surrounding hills… the bare rock slips are called “scree slides” .. more on those in a post not too far away…
The tiny “building” on the right of the next photo is a DOC (Department of Conservation) Toilet facility…
A lonely bolder in the tussock..
As we get back out of this valley and into the main one, the weather miraculously starts to clear again… it’s still overcast and patchy but what a difference already from Lake Tennyson.
Suddenly the conversation turns to the peaks that surround us… Himself, our Kiwi friend and I start taking about taking a small hike…
Another adventure looms…