The Sound of Snow Falling (Part Two) – Double Hut

“On a Mish” #182 The Sound of Snow Falling (Part Two). Double Hut. Hakatere Conservation Area. 7.8.2012. I’m sure that most trampers, trekkers, hikers, people who walk to epic places, have a hut that is very special to them. I might be the first hut you went to, or one where the weather was perfect, or maybe a hut you went to with friends. Whatever the reason, it is a place you love returning to time and time again. My special shelter in the wilderness is Double Hut in Hakatere Conservation Park. I had the special pleasure of snow added to my first visit to this awesome home away from home…

After hiking much further than expected I needed a good sleep. Thankfully the racket of heavy rain on Double Hut’s tin roof was replaced by the sound of snow falling, and there was silence over the Ashburton Lakes. As I drifted off to sleep, I knew I would be waking up to a different place in the morning.

Early-ish the next day I was up before the sun and my head torch made the outside world twinkle like the stars. The walk to the long-drop toilet seems a little bit longer when you are plugging steps in the snow to get there!

I boiled the billy for a much needed morning brew, and while the water began to boil the outside world began to reveal its snowy self. The yellows of the tussock and black and grey colours of the rock were gone. The clouds still hugged the mountains, making a mix of grey and white that worked together like a black and white filter had been applied to my eyes.

A Snowy Double Hut

I had some breakfast and another coffee in front of the fire, the only pocket of warmth in the area. The snow continued to tumble down while I packed up my gear and gave the hut a good clean. Really, I was just delaying the inevitable retreat down the track to my car. At least I would get a few good pictures along the way. With the hut looking a little better than when I arrived, I closed the door knowing I would be back again.

The snow continued to fall as I hiked, and this made the crossing of the Swin River extra ‘refreshing’. After resoaking the boots, which I had worked hard to dry during the evening, I continued down towards Lake Heron. The track drops about 200 metres in altitude and by the time I got to lake level I was out of the snow and in the cold rain. Walking in the rain only reinforced how much better being in the snow was.

Some might think that hiking to a full hut and having to retrace my steps was a bad thing. Or having the weather take a turn and snow making everything very, very cold outside could be seen as not very enjoyable. But for me it was just part of the mish, and everything seemed to work itself out and I had a hut to myself. My first trip to Double Hut was awesome and as far as first trips go this was (to me) about as good as it can get. Snow falling is the sweetest sound on earth and I highly recommend you rug up warm, go for a wander, and have a listen to the coolest winter soundtrack yourself…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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