Appreciating the Past (Part Two) – Tribulation Hut

“On a Mish” #202 Appreciating the Past (Part Two). Tribulation Hut. Hakatere Conservation Area. 2.7.2014. Hard work and long days were the norm for the musterers who used to roam the hills of Hakatere. Fences made their way over very difficult ground and the construction of some was done over a hundred years ago. Seeing them still standing really makes you appreciate the back straining work done in the past and also how tough (and heavy) the wires and warrahtars really are. Long gone are the days of horses and dogs rounding up sheep in the area, but evidence of their work remains and can now be appreciated while you hike…

Starting with a wander beside Redcliffe Stream towards the Redcliffe Saddle, I was in the zone. My legs warmed up quickly with the mix of weight on my back and the incline up to the saddle, however the scenery made the walking seem easy, as there was plenty of excellent scenery to see.

Looking around I could see dark clouds in the Rakaia Valley and had few spits of rain on my windscreen as I drove into the area, but amazingly the rain seemed to be falling everywhere but Cookies Flat, the location of Tribulation Hut.

The skies continued to clear as I got closer to Tribulation Hut, and the hiking was very good especially knowing I really should be hiking in the wet.

After a couple of easy hours following old farm tracks I was very pleased to see the hut and to see it was in excellent condition both inside and out.

Empty hut, good food, and unexpected clear skies, I was again guaranteed another excellent adventure in the mountains of Hakatere and to add to the awesomeness I had at night in a new hut. The fact that this is possible with absolute ease in Aotearoa makes you proud to be a wilderness addict in the land of the long white cloud!

Tribulation Hut at Dusk

The barren location of the hut means no fuel for a fire, and this means the hut’s fireplace has been removed. As inconvenient as this is during a cold night in July (the middle of winter), I fully understand why this gets done in some huts. Unfortunately I have been to a few huts where, due to the lack of easily accessible wood, people have used parts of the bunks, drawers, seats and even pieces of the hut itself as fire fuel! You just hope that it was an emergency situation when the hut’s bunks went into the fireplace.

For me, even though it was deep into winter, I was happy to leave the hut intact and wrap myself up in my sleeping bag for warmth as I drifted off to sleep. Getting to sleep was no issue as I had the distant bubble of the Swift River to soothe me into dreamland.

An early-ish start the next day had me putting my pack cover on, and suiting up for the rain falling outside the hut. At one point during the night I awoke to the sound of heavy rain on the tin roof.

Luckily as it turned out, the day was much the same as the one before. I appeared to be surrounded by dark storm clouds, but the valley seemed to be avoiding the rain. I had the odd spit to keep me on my toes but for now I was dry.

It was after I had hiked over the Redcliffe Saddle and looked down to the Rakaia River that my luck with the rain finally ended. I was on the home straight and less than an hour later I was in my car and had a chance to get out of the rain.

Another hut in Hakatere was done and it was just as epic as the others. I seem to like this side of the park so when I got home I started to look for more…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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