A short overnighter– 24-25 September 2016rocks hut

It must be a very select group when the whole crew plus packs can fit in my 1300cc shopping trolley.  So Nolene, Robert and I left the Maitai dam carpark at 8.45am on a beautiful spring morning. Soon we were reduced to short sleeves – what a lovely day! At 10.15am, we stopped for morning tea at the usual place – a small layby off the track. Then onwards up the cycle track, ready to meet cyclists, all being most considerate. Further up Windtrap Gully, we met a sun-seeking skink that wasn’t in too much hurry to move. After a short rest at the Dun junction, we clambered up the rubbly track to Dun Saddle. We lunched in the shelter of a large rock as the wind was rising. The “interesting” clouds we had noticed earlier were foreboding and some were falling ominously over saddles. Showers were imminent, but would they hold off until tomorrow? The sign said one hour to Rocks Hut. We were glad to be there at 1.25pm as the windblown drizzle was setting in and it was getting cold.

Therefore, instead of exploring further, our afternoon’s project was to gather firewood. There was some good teamwork as Nolene mastered the saw over a rock to score into the tea tree sufficiently for Robert with his man strength to boot it apart. Each party is supposed to add more long branches to store under the hut drying ready for later visitors to manhandle into small enough lengths for the wood burner. The hut has 16 mattresses on platforms, drying rack and reasonable bench space. Water was overflowing the tank outside. Up behind it there are two flush toilets. We spent the remainder of the day brewing up, eating, reading and listening to the rain. It was surprising we had the hut to ourselves as it is more frequently occupied during Sept – May and very busy Nov – Mar with Te Araroa trekkers – many foreigners. Some hut book entries are mountain biking / tramping....inferring a lot of bike carrying?

Heavy showers fell during the night but there was still a light drizzle in the morning. Having cleaned up, we left soon after 9.00am (daylight saving time), well rugged up and pleased to be, in the open windy places. None felt inspired to climb Dun Mtn, so we went down the more direct way, pausing for morning tea, then lunch at the bridge as here there were just flying spits of damp.

We were back at the car park soon after 1.00pm. A short walk, but it was good to be carrying an overnight pack again to prepare for the summer. We left unfinished business up there, so we must return.