Alicia Paulsen and her dog Max tackle an adventure to Princess Bath in North Canterbury, but the adventure started at home the night before...
Every great tramping adventure starts with packing up the gear the night before.
This is normal you say, however if an adventure dog lives with you this can mean trouble. As the tramping backpack is removed from its hiding place Max (the Alaskan husky) alternates between madly racing around the house (with all the enthusiasm a husky possesses) and sitting patiently by the front door wagging his tail waiting for the adventures to start.
This trip took us to Princess Bath, a small lake located in the St James Conservation Area under Mt Princess. I was a little apprehensive about the trip, as from my googling, I discovered there was no track and we were tagging along with a party which consisted of two adults and four children. I wasn’t really sure how Max was going to get on with the kids, as we normally go tramping on our own. Turns out the kids loved Max and he was on his best behaviour.
We left at 9.30 the following morning (much to Max’s disappointment as we usually go adventuring early). We stopped at Culverden on the way and met the rest of our group there. Once we got to Hamner Springs we headed towards Lake Tennyson. The others in their great wisdom had decided earlier in the week that we were driving up the Mailing Pass Road. I did try to warn them that it’s not a nice road without a proper four-wheel drive, explaining that my little Subaru Imprezza really wasn’t going to fare well... However it turns out I was braver than them! We ended up parking about 2km from the summit and soon after set off towards it.
There was no marked track from the summit although there was a well-worn path up the first ridge. It was a lovely sunny day and it was relatively easy to navigate the ridges to get to Princess Bath. Princess Bath sits below some sheer screes and above some bluffs. There is a waterfall at one end which is the start of the stream that continues down past where we parked our car. We could see Mt Princess and screes above Princess Bath from where we parked the car and most of our journey towards it.
Max and I navigated the way and found the odd cairn as we headed toward the lake. There was only one steep climb up a scree slope and a steep decent down the other side. We camped for one night at the lake before heading back down the next afternoon.
We both thoroughly enjoyed the trip. It was pretty hot when we walked out the next day, once we got down to the mailing pass road Max headed straight for the car and promptly went to sleep in a tussock bush while he was waiting for me to catch him up.
There was only one stream on the way up and down so I carried an extra litre of water for Max each day. Max carries all his own food, water and a ball in his Ruffwear pack and loves every minute of it!