Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Many Moods of Mavora

During our two weeks at Mavora Lakes we experienced the full spectrum of weather conditions from extremely hot days through to snow & sleet, along with everything else the weather Gods thought we might like to have a taste of in between!
We were tucked down in a valley between two mountain ranges, when the sun make an appearance it arrived late & left early each day. Sunrise was around 7am but it took a full two hours for it to rise high enough to reach the van & warm us up on lake edge. Some mornings it was so chilly before the sun got to us we stayed warm & snug in bed until late. 
Each evening the sun dropped behind the peaks on the other side of the lake well before darkness fell. And once the sun dropped so did the temperature which in turn was an invite for the hordes of sandflies to come and party. Sandflies were the bane of our time at Mavora, they are persistent little buggers and managed to annoy the hell out of us many times. The security screen door we had installed was worth it's weight in gold otherwise it would have meant we'd have had to keep the main door with it's tiny insect screen shut for most of the time.  
We had four hot sunny days at the beginning of our visit and then on the fifth night sometime in the wee small hours we both woke up freezing cold. The temperature had well & truly dropped but it wasn't until I opened the door in the morning that I was greeted with the wonderful sight of snow on the mountains across the lake and up behind us! How exciting, our first taste of snow "Out There". I called quickly to David, who was still in bed "snow, snow!" He thought I was saying "no, no!" and was wondering what on earth had happened! He chose to stay put and view it later; where's the fun in that?

During the day the temperature plummeted further. It was cold, dark & miserable outside when the hail arrived collecting in large piles on the ute tray & ledges around the van. It even fell off the end of the awning in a pile on the ground and filled up the floor of the inflatable. After the hail the clouds dropped low over the top of us & blocked out the mountains. Next came the sleet and then finally snow at lake level, our very first snow fall, how exciting!

The snow on the ground around us was gone in a flash and when the clouds lifted they revealed a much lower layer of snow on the bush behind and the mountains further up the valley. Winter is well and truly on it's way.

After the snow, and for the next couple of days, came the rain. Heavy solid rain for two whole days, enough rain to fill our fresh water tanks ten times over. Enough rain to soak the parched tussock grasslands and run down into the lake in great rivers of water. Enough rain to dampen down the dust on the gravel roads but not quite enough to wash the rig by itself! We had wondered why there were a number of narrow ditches dug around our camp site. The pumice soil didn't actually seem to soak too much of the water up, we nearly didn't have to launch the inflatable in the lake as it floated around in it's own pool next to the fifth-wheeler.

And while we were tucked up inside our warm & cosy van there were still a number of Te Araroa walkers passing through Mavora in the cold & wet weather, I guess when you're walking 3000kms you have to keep to some sort of schedule. After seeing no one about for a day or two this guy gave me a bit of a fright when he suddenly emerged out of the trees nearby- he looked kind of creepy with his rain cover & "hunch back". Don't worry, he couldn't see me taking this from inside the van, I just think he was looking at our van thinking "I wish........" 

Our diesel heaters also proved their worth while we sat out the bad weather. They were very economical to run, we'd have one or the other ticking over for most of the day keeping us warm & also drying any wet clothes or towels. They especially earnt their keep when we showered keeping the bedroom warm & toasty while we changed.

After four days of bad weather, including one where a very strong wind blew straight down the lake & in our front door (better than it hitting the slide out as had been the case for all of January!) the sun came back out, the snow melted and summer resumed where it had left off.

Below is the view across the lake to our fifth-wheeler & camp site which is followed by a montage of "Out There". That's us to the left of the right hand side clump of trees.

And then for the last couple of days we woke to thick fog which quickly lifted as the sun rose. It was quite eerie not being able to see the lake but knowing that it was just a few steps away in front of the van. Opening the door each morning reminded me of the Forrest Gump quote "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get"

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