The last peak within an hours drive of Christchurch was today’s destination. After Labour Weekend’s weather being terrible in the mountains and copious amounts of gin and beer having been consumed on Saturday night – it was Monday that was going to get the Mt Oxford (1364m) treatment.
There was a group of us this time – me, Caralyn, Greg, Lizzie & Holly – all along for the climb and roller coaster ride.
The weather had cleared on the drive out there from the rain, snow and cloud that had covered the skies previously. As we pulled up to Coopers Creek there was even blue sky up above!
The route we had decided on was the anticlockwise direction to get the steeper slopes out the way first. We scooted round the river, passed the scouts camp and up the winding track towards the summit.
The going was fast and the track was a lot muddier than I’d anticipated – making it slipper for some.
Still, we pushed past the east forest section and onto the steeper climb towards the bushline. this is probably the crux of the whole run, where in some places you needed to nearly be on hands and knees…
From the bushline, myself and Greg were ahead of the rest across the scree on the final ascent. unfortunately, we ran back into the cloud and the visibility dropped.
The summit came and the cloud semi-cleared giving great views of the Torlesse Range to the north west and across the Canterbury Plains back to Christchurch to the east.
We all posed for the standard group summit photo as the temperature soon dropped as we’d stopped moving. We rushed along the ridge line towards the descent to the Wharfedale track – to warm up our hands and feet that had lost feeling.
The next section was a beautiful and rocky descent towards the track junction – one side dropping into the Lees Valley. We took the other direction back to the creek, meeting a slight incline – making my legs feel dead and unable to push up the hill.
The rest of the run was downhill from here – very steep and muddy, slipping and sliding all the way down until we hit the Wharfedale at the bottom. Here we chose the waterfall track to return on and undulated our way across the river and back to Coopers Creek.
3 hours of running was fun, and the conditions had been far from perfect, but the temperature was great for running, not too how, not too cold. Peak 39 complete – thanks to Mt Oxford and the gang.
To round off the day, a stop off at Oxford pie shop made Lizzie’s day – “Best Pies ever” although I don’t think she’s stopped off in Sheffield before…