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In late 2010 the Hakatere Conservation Park was extended with the inclusion of Mt Barrosa. This has increased the activity options in the park with the addition of walking and mountain biking tracks.
In May 2010 some members of the Methven Traping Club, based in Mid Canterbury, took a trip up Mt Barrosa, this is a trip that the club has done on many occasions from summer to winter, on clear tops and under snow, and each time there is more to see.
There is a car parking area on the Ashburton Gorge Road a bit before Blowing Point. There is a DOC sign board and there are marker poles most of the way to the top of Barrosa (only 1364m). We followed the track and got to the summit after a couple of hours.
Not far below the top you start coming across all sorts and sizes of agate, big small, different colours and it doesn't take long before you start sifting through it all trying to pick out a pice to take back as a souvineer. A welcome distraction after a steady climb to the top.
When we reached the top of Mt Barrosa we sat down to enjoy our lunch. From the top there is a stunning 360 degree view that takes in the Southern Alps including Mt D'Archiac (which is often confused for Mt Cook). South towards Timaru and beyond, inland over Lake Clearwater and Mt Guy, the other way over Lake Heron and Sugarloaf, the Cameron Valley, the back of Mt Hutt. The western flank of Mt Somers and Mt Winterslow. So much to take in and something different to see in each direction.
As we peered over the rocky outcrop down the western side of Mt Barrosa, we noticed a group of Chamois had gathered. They hadn't noticed or smelled us at all so we got a good look at them just doing there thing. There were about 8 in the group.
Eventually we packed up from lunch and followed the top of Mt Barrosa to the far side and dropped down to an old 4WD track. At the far end of the summit ridge the agate gets more sporatic, so if you want to check out the best of it make sure you do it on the way up and when you get to the top.
The 4WD track eventually leads back to Blowing Point and the car park. We then drove back to the Mt Somers General store for ice creams - a ritual of the clubs after a trip out this way.