- From the diary of Dave Osmers.
"The deer winded us and took off, a mob of 18, and even with the snow up to three feet deep they travelled fast and didn’t look like stopping. So on we went knowing we would reach them before the head.
But we were wrong, as in the head of the creek the snow had frozen solid, and the deer had no trouble working their way out over a 7,500 ft saddle and down into the next valley
We watched their movements through the binoculars, and, scanning the steep basins above saw to our amazement what looked very much like sheep tracks in the snow.
Within a few minutes we spotted some sheep and then realized they had come over the saddle during the Autumn muster, down into the basins of this side of the range, and then were caught with the first fall of snow.
When we reached them we found they had worked tracks all through a small basin, and had eaten the few snowgrass bare to the shingle.
It was hard work pulling sheep away often leaving the wool frozen to the rockface. Speed was essential to have the sheep out before dark, and this was finally achieved.
Having spent the last two hours of daylight working in water, I found my feet had lost all feeling, so instead of riding I walked the mile back to the hut.
Inside the hut, the fire going, I had difficulty getting my boots off as they were frozen solid as well as my socks. The fire thawed everything out except my feet which had a burning, tingling feeling and with no difference in the morning I set out to ride into the homestead – 4 miles away while Brian went to gather the sheep.
It was not long before I realized I had a minor form of frostbite, and for the next three weeks went shuffling around in a pair of oversized slippers which the top layers of skin peeled off to the good skin underneath.
We had missed out on the deer, but the owner was so pleased about our ‘find’ we both received a nice bonus on that months wages."
-From Dave's diary
Have we journeyed too far out here?
Wandered too many days alone
How can we, 'yond the hours light allows,
surely find our way back home?
The bright-eyed up-starts who journeyed as boys up into the mountains returned home as strong young men. Leathered, windburned, competent and ever-stronger with every changing season.
The severity of the land would have it's pound of flesh as well. When Dave retired from this roaming way of life to help in founding Makarora, it was in no small part due to repeated bouts of Shingles, which he attributed to sleeping on the river stones and in the cold far too often.