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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Hayden

Stuck Truck Creek (Mt Pisa)

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

It's been a few weeks since my last adventure, social engagements have kept me grounded beneath the infamous Cromwell fog 😶‍🌫️

The fog hasn't cleared for the better part of a month and I figured it was time to rise above it.

Here in Central Otago I'm surrounded by mountains, but there's one in particular that's special to me.

Mt Pisa over looks my humble home,

The Pisa Conservation Area spans over five and a half thousand acres 😯

It's tall, infact it's just under two thousand metres above sea level at it's highest point.

It doesn't culminate to an aestheticly pleasing point like most mountains that catch my eye but it's my mountain.

Shut up Maunganui 😝

Im hunting snow again.

I wanted to be on my feet early Saturday, I knew I had a big day ahead.

It's five or so hours to the summit and maybe another three to my bunk at Deep Creek Hut.

I pulled into a creek at 6:30am.

Yeah you read that right, I pulled into a creek 😂

It was dark and foggy and I thought it was flat ground 🤦🏻‍♂️

I tried reversing, I got nowhere.

I tried to continue through the creek, I got nowhere 😩

I was stuck, full tilt with half my truck off the ground 😅

I felt like a real dumbass 🤦🏻‍♂️

Anyone can get stuck, but trust me to get stuck in the dumbest place possible.

Just metres from the signposted parking lot 😂

If only I'd seen that driving in.

Lucky for me I have friends with certain expertise.

The kind of guys who wouldn't end up in this predicament 🫣

They brought a towrope and yanked it back to dry land as soon as they were able to stop laughing 😅

I wish I had footage of old girl getting pulled out, I could've sworn she went aerial briefly 😂

This dilemma cost me a couple of valuable hours, I was on my feet at 9:00am and determined to make up for lost time.

After fourty five minutes the fog started thinning and a faint shade of blue overcame the sky.

It was a beautiful day, you just didn't know it in the valley 🤷🏻‍♂️


By the halfway point small patches of snow were building on south facing ridges, even in the heat of the day it stays chilly up here.

It makes for a good moving temperature, though it's always smart to keep a windbreaker handy.


As lunchtime rolled around I wasn't far from the top, though it wasn't much of a lunch.

I don't eat a lot while on the move,

I often have to let my body cool down properly before I know I'm even hungry.

With five hours of daylight left there wasn't time to rest, a quick sip of water and I was back on my feet.

Half an hour later I was once again parched, I took off my pack and reached for my water bottle.

My water bottle wasn't there 😓

This was terrible news, I'd improvised a shortcut since my last stop and if it'd fallen on the ground chances of finding it were slim, but it was my only bottle and I had to find it.

I began the daunting trip downhill when it dawned on me, I'd probably left it on the stile last time I took a drink.

A close up from my camera confirmed it, there it was nearly a nearly a km back downhill 😩

Another set back 🤦🏻‍♂️

I was not making things easy for myself,

Not that I ever have.

I left my pack and trudged back through the snow, took a much needed drink at the stile and refilled from the same creek I'd sat in earlier that day.

Back up hill the track was buried and the snow was soft.

I'd brought my crampons but they weren't necessary, I was sinking.

Scooping snow out of the top of my boots like it mattered at this point 😄

My gradual climb was leveling off.


The top of the range was so vast, if it weren't for the sheer drops to one side I could've sworn I was at ground level.

Which now that I think about it sounds like a stupid observation considering I was infact on the ground 🤷🏻‍♂️

I was only a couple of km's away from the summit but my day didn't end there, I had to double back and then some if I were to spend the night at Deep Creek.

I wasn't locked into anything and the nearby Kirtle Burn Hut was quite inviting, I was pretty keen on a hot drink and some dry socks 😅


A rock formation that once appeared a speck on the horizon turned out to be the crown of Pisa.

I breathed a crisp breath of fresh air after making the last few steps to the summit and let out a mighty Rick Flair Woooo !

It echoed throughout the high ground.

Mount Rosa, Ben Cruachan and Double Cone looking towards Queenstown ⏬⏬


Mount Aspiring looking past Wanaka ⏫⏫

I rewarded myself with half a pack of scorched almonds at the top, I would've finished them but my jaw was starting to cramp 😂

When I was done eating and getting my nicotine fix I headed for Kirtle Burn Hut.

It was only a couple of km's away,

I wasn't quite stubborn enough to push the extra six to Deep Creek and it was the right move given the time of day.

Spot home base ⏬⏬


I love a good frozen stream crossing👌🏻

Or at least I will until I fall through one😂

This stream find it's way to the Roaring Meg hydro dam helping provide electricity for the area.

In the months to come this will be a busy hut with Ski touring in season, but I had it all to myself that night.

I took full advantage of this and watched a couple of movies I'd forgotten I had downloaded and faded off to sleep.


The next morning I walked towards Snow Farm, I figured if I could get down to Cardrona Valley Road I could hitch my way to Wanaka and get some lunch before hitching again back home.


I'll admit, snow farm is a bit of a maze and a lot bigger than I thought 😅

At some point I'd also crossed over into Proving Grounds, a vehicle testing facility.

I wasn't really supposed to be there and was picked up by a worker who gave me a ride through security.

Unfortunately he only took me as far as the top of the looooooong driveway 😮‍💨

Fair enough though, he probably had work to do 🤷🏻‍♂️

Because Snow Farm wasn't yet open for business the driveway was quiet to say the least, when I heard a car come up behind me I was ecstatic👌🏻

A snowfarm employee had a day off and was heading into town, her and her partner were happy to give me a ride to Cardrona where I satisfied my caffeine cravings☕

( I used the last of my gas canister last night, I'm not often without my morning coffee 😅 )

I caught another ride to a Firebird where I strangely wasn't able to finish my meal,

Then jumped in with a carload of students on their way back to Dunedin who dropped me back in Cromwell early afternoon.

This was my first time hitchhiking and all in all it was a pleasant experience, I didn't wait for anymore than an hour which was fine, I had a good sing along on the side of the road and met some cool people 👌🏿

Moving house this weekend coming so I'll have to keep to the lowlands again for now...

I'm sure I'll be back in the blog soon though.

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