Hut Etiquette (Part Two) – Packhorse Hut

“On a Mish” #158 Hut Etiquette (Part Two). Packhorse Hut. Te Ara Pataka/Banks Peninsula. 10.7.2009. During my time exploring the mountains of Aotearoa I have spent numerous nights in the many huts that are dotted throughout this great country. I have heard foreigners comment on how amazing our hut network is, and how many there are to choose from. Most of the huts are available to the public, meaning there are times you are spending the night with strangers / new friends. The little homes away from home are great shelters to spend the night with others, just remember to be thoughtful and show some hut etiquette…

As evening became nighttime, I began to hear the hum of many voices approaching the once peaceful place. The sound got closer and closer until I was listening to a real commotion going on just outside of my tent. A large Youth Group, whose members outnumbered the beds at the Packhorse Hut by many, had rolled into town / the Packhorse Hut. Along with their late arrival and loud voices, they also brought a music speaker which was fired up the minute they entered the hut. It would appear they had no idea about hut etiquette!

I could hear the ruckus going on inside, and I was outside! I knew it must have been very noisy and I knew my old man wouldn’t be enjoying his own room anymore. He asked a couple of times if they could keep the noise down, but this was acknowledged momentarily and then ignored / forgotten. The party raged on. Eventually I heard the hut door open, and a familiar voice said “bugger this, let’s get out of here’.

Due to the noise and super bright full moon a plan was hatched to escape the rowdy crowd and to hike back out to the car right then and there. With haste I packed my tent up and then we left the late arriving party, who were still loudly enjoying their own hut party.

When I went to my tent, I never imagined that I would be packing it up an hour or two later and then hiking in the moonlight. With a strange excitement we began our journey away from the sound of poor etiquette and back into the silent night we briefly enjoyed.

The hike was one to remember. To start with we didn’t need head torches as the moon was taking care of the illumination. Along with shining brightly in the sky, it was also reflecting perfectly on the calm waters of Whakaraupo Lyttelton Harbour. We couldn’t have picked a better night to be frustrated out of a hut!

About two thirds of the way the track enters a pine forest which took away the moonlight and we were plunged into the normal darkness of night. Head torches were a must for the remainder of the trek and at about 1.30am we spotted the car and knew that a bed was only a drive away. It is safe to say that my mother got a hell of a fright when a shadowy figure (Jeremy) appeared out of the dark at around 3am.

In the end we still had a good (unique) time, and it was a mish we wouldn’t forget in a hurry. In a strange way we should thank the Youth Group, because without their poor hut etiquette we wouldn’t have had our magic midnight moonlight mission!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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