Woolshed Creek Hut (Winter) – Part One

“A Mish a Day” #61 Woolshed Creek Hut (winter) – Part One. Hakatere Conservation Park. 10.7.2013. To step into a world covered in snow is a step towards a real winter adventure. For me personally adding snow makes any mountain environment so much better for photographs. Crisp white set against the natural greens and browns of the land can make a novice photographer capture a masterpiece. Of course you will have to put up with the cold, but at least these days we have all the modern clothing you could need for winter survival

With the aim of getting some good photos (and also the challenge of an adventure), I decided to hike into Woolshed Creek Hut in the middle of the 2013 winter just after heavy snow had battered the area. The timing for the mission couldn’t have been any better as I had time off work and the weather forecast was for clear skies during the day and maybe a little bit more snow overnight. My tyres crunched through new snow from turning off the Mt Somers Road, which is at relatively low altitude, to the Woolshed Creek Track car park. I had hiked the track before, but with snow the adventure was completely different. The carpark was empty as I expected, and I slid my way into a parking spot in the chilly forest. The car park sees little sun during the winter months so there was a definite chill in the air. I stepped into a foot or so of fresh powder from the get-go, and as I climbed further along the track the snow increased in depth. I passed the old mining area above the car park, and this made me think of the tough buggers who used to work in the area searching for valuable minerals.

The snow got a lot deeper above the old mine, and plugging steps though the fresh snow kept me warm as I pushed on. I was trudging through snow all the way to the hut, and at the high point (Trig 934m) the snow was knee deep with waist high drifts encountered on the way down. The snow made the going slow, but luckily everything looked incredible so a break was always rewarded with a stunning view of a winter paradise. The hut started as a dot amongst the mountains, and as I closed in on my target the place got bigger and bigger. With a destination in sight I found the motivation to keep slogging away towards the safety of the hut. Of course Woolshed Creek Hut was empty, and I was lucky to find a well stocked woodshed. I finally got the chance to take off my wet semi frozen boots, and the feeling of free feet was amazing. After chopping up a little bit of kindling I got the fire roaring quickly. After creating some warmth I spent the night drying out and occasionally ducking outside to check on the stars in the crystal clear sky above the hut. I had an excellent sleeping arrangement, staying warm on 3 mattresses about 3 feet from the fire meant winter’s chilly breath was kept outside the hut. As if the mission needed more adventure to it, overnight it began to snow again, and this filled in the tracks I had plugged on the journey to the hut. Any signs of my hike into Woolshed Creek Hut were disappearing…

The Final Push to the Hut

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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