A Battle with the Elements (Part Three) – Pinnacles Hut

“On a Mish” #148 A Battle with the Elements (Part Three). Pinnacles Hut. Hakatere Conservation Park. 18.9.2010. The weather is something that is constantly happening and as humans we must adapt or escape. Some people dread a day of rain, while others love it when the skies distribute some water on the land. I personally love a good hike in the elements. If you are wearing gear that is up to the task, then the experience is a good way of reminding yourself you are alive and up to any challenge that Mother Nature throws at you…

Pinnacles Hut must be one of the warmest huts I have stayed in. We didn’t use much wood and still we had the place cooking. It really didn’t matter what was going on outside because we were toasty and warm inside the hut on the side of Mt Somers.

An early-ish start had us peering outside at a winter wonderland, white and well covered in a layer of fresh snow. Our battle with the elements was now rewarding us with some epic snowy views.

It was hard to leave the comforts of the awesome little hut with its incredible potbelly stove. The hut lures you in and makes you not want to leave. Full credit to the builders for a job well done. Eventually we did leave and now refreshed and dried, we made our way outside into the cool late winter air now with nothing but glorious clear skies above.

The trail was covered by fresh snow, and while it might be tough it is always fun plugging the first steps. After some excellent morning hiking out in the open, we were back down at the waterfall near Bowyers Stream. Just before entering the forest, I had one last look around at the snowy rock pinnacles that are located above the hut and where it gets its name. The jagged reddish rock was complimented by a layer of white. It really is a stunning place, and it is obvious why there was a hut built here.

As we got into the forest, we were bombarded from above by the layer of snow that had been trapped in the canopy of the forest. It wasn’t snowing from the sky anymore, but that didn’t mean we were spared from getting nailed by the white stuff. As the sun began to warm the area huge chunks would come crashing down, and somehow it always seemed to find its way down the back of our necks!

The hike back up to the top of Dukes Knob(739m) was far less punishing without the face-stinging rain and hail, however there was the odd place where the branches were hanging low over the track. It was difficult to avoid the branches without getting a face full of snow. Eventually pushed on to the top and once there we got to see Mt Somers from the top. After cresting the knob, we began our descent back towards the car park, and now that we had views to the east, we could enjoy the views of the Canterbury Plains.

The last part of the mission was following the very well-groomed track near the earthquake damaged Sharplin Falls Track back to the car park. The snow in the trees kept falling on us right to the very end. The weather had done everything it could do to spoil our mish and we still finished with smiles on our faces. The fight was now over, and we could now start celebrating our victory after our battle with the elements!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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