There’s a certain degree of trial and error when it comes to scouting out a new location for a possible Dog Tails adventure. Generally, it starts by looking at a Topo map, then hunting around for DOC information which hopefully doesn’t have any anti-dog sentiments tucked away in it. Then it’s a small matter of driving the two plus hours on painfully straight, boring roads, to inevitably be greeted with a small red circle containing a black silhouette of a cute, fluffy dog with a thick ‘Not Today Mate’ line through it.
So fingers were tightly crossed last weekend when we drove the three hours to Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park (not heard of it before, neither had I. It’s next to Mesopotamia… no, not that one… just to Google it). Arriving at the start of the 4×4 track that would take us into the park, the good news was that dogs were allowed. The bad news was that the weather was horrendous. We had left the warm, blue skies of Christchurch and arrived in what could most accurately be described as a blizzard. Snow filled, gale force winds hammered the truck as we negotiated a combination of rocky river beds and muddy, flooded, grassy areas. My co-pilots were two excitable dogs, eager to get out for a run, and able to provide zero reassurance as the bottom of the truck scraped along another jagged rock.
After a minor river crossing and with the snow continuing to fall, I asked politely if we could please turn around as I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore. Huddled within my mates 4×4 for a tea and biscuits stop (including some Bitching Beer Treats for the dogs of course), we watched as the dogs were released to play in the blizzard. They seemed happy enough. Presumably they weren’t so tightly clenched during the drive that they’ll have to wait a good week before they get any kind of regularity back.
Now that I’m back home, I guess the trip could technically be called a success, but only in the sense that nothing really bad happened. Nothing good really happened either, but I guess you can’t win them all.