Leaving Wanting More (Part Two) – Grassy Flat Hut

“On a Mish” #74 Leaving Wanting More (Part Two). Grassy Flat Hut. Kelly Range – Styx River Area. 5.10.2011. While wandering the wilderness on the West Coast I knew my short visit would leave me wanting more. The peace and quiet is matched by the beauty of the bush and mountains, and the place is perfect for foot travel. My plans to tramp on the coast were cut short by the opportunity of work early in the 2011-2012 hiking season. So, this meant a quick up and down of the Styx Valley, and I would learn that the area is not only stunning to look at, but also rich in history as well…

The barrier of the southern alps posed a big problem for the prospectors who wanted to get their gold from one side of the country to the other. Along with Arthurs Pass, several other passes were thought of as ways through the mountains. At one stage a road was built up the Styx Valley with ideas it would be the next major connection between the west and east. Thankfully for the area the idea was scaped and now the only sign of the project is the wide sections of walking track up the Styx Valley.

The mixture of wide easy track and messy treefall had me stop starting many times. The storm that blew through must have been violent event, and not the time to be out in the hills. Eventually I walked and scrambled my way to the open plains of Grassy Flat, and then I spotted the hut of the same name.

Grassy Flat Hut

Grassy Flat Hut is a 10-bunk hut and is in great condition and very comfortable to stay at. At first, I had the place to myself and as the afternoon rolled on into evening it seemed it was going to stay that way – however, not long before dark I was joined by a possum trapper. He was only beginning his quest up the Styx Valley and then around the Arahura River. There are huts dotted along the route he was taking and hearing about his mish left me wanting more even before I had finished! After sharing a couple of cups of whiskey we retreated to our bunks and with that day one of two was over.

Early-ish the next day I got up to find that the Possum man had vanished at some stage, and he had done very an excellent job sneaking out without waking me. The signs of a seasoned pro going about their life in the bush taking care of our birds by taking care of as many possums as possible. I stoked up the fire and enjoyed a coffee, some breakfast, and the warmth of a well-built hut. Leaving was tough.

The hike back to my car was easier as I knew my way through the maze of downed trees and broken track. Without a huge amount of effort, I got back out on the farmlands near Lake Kaniere, the first part of my mish was over.

After getting back to the road I just had to enjoy the scenery for a little longer, so I decided to enjoy some lunch near the lake before taking on the drive to Queenstown. My brief encounter with a good West Coast track was very enjoyable and as expected it left me wanting a lot more than just one night out. On the upside I was heading Queenstown to start another season on the famous Routeburn Track so I was just going from one epic place to another!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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