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

“On a Mish” #148 A Battle with the Elements (Part Two). Pinnacles Hut. Hakatere Conservation Park. 18.9.2010. To many the thought of hiking while rain pounds down is not pleasant. You’re wet, it’s cold, and you have many steps to go before you reach your planned location. And then to make things interesting, it begins to snow! These battles with the elements can be highly enjoyable if you are wearing appropriate clothing and luckily these days, we have an abundance of lightweight, waterproof garments to choose from. With good gear on and a goal to achieve you might be surprised by how much fun you can have while hiking in the sun, rain, hail, or snow…

After the epic little waterfall detour, we had to climb up out of the gut that houses Bowyer Stream and make our way towards Pinnacles Hut. The well-maintained track kept us moving at a good pace, and the climb kept us warm, which was needed as the weather deteriorated. The snow got heavier while we climbed higher. Even though we were happy hiking, we did look forward to getting to the safe shelter of the hut.

It is always interesting how time feels when out hiking. The difference between 30 minutes in fine weather with no worries feels when compared with 30 minutes in situations of outdoor despair. There was one last push left and although we had something to complain about with hoods up and pack-covers on we powered over the last section of the track and minutes felt like sections.

A dark menacing sky made above and beyond the hut looked intimidating and the forecast was for more wild weather to blow through overnight. We got to Pinnacles Hut just as another squall unloaded its icy payload. While we loosened boot laces the roof of the veranda rattled to the tune of hail and snow.

Our battle with the elements was over and luckily, not only did we have the hut to ourselves, but we were also very happy to see it was well topped up with dry firewood plus coal. In no time the fire was roaring, and the hut was no longer an ice box. In fact, it didn’t take much time at all for the windows to fog up with the hut’s single large room warming nicely.

Pinnacles Hut is built so well that after topping up the fire with coal and going to sleep, I woke up very hot and sweaty in my sleeping bag and needed to shed layers to stay comfortable with the warmth created by the awesome fireplace. As we slept in cosy warmth the wind eased and the skies over Hakatere slowly cleared…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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