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Hutbagging : Slaty, Tutaekuri, Mid Trent Hut’s. Nov 2018

Saturday, December 1, 2018

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Nov 2018 Hutbagging Trip to Slaty Hut, Tutaekuri Hut and Mid-Trent Hut. ( near Haupiri, WestCoast )
After waiting for a suitable break in the weather (seems very difficult these days) Tom, Charlie and myself left early for the West Coast, shortly after Arthurs Pass was reopened after slips and flooding.

Our departure point was beyond Haupiri, and we headed off up the Waiheke River, crossing the Tutaekuri River (which showed plenty of evidence of the previous weeks flooding) along the remnants of a 4wd track, mostly washed out. A beautiful river with several relatively easy crossings before we reached Slaty Hut-a classic beech slab hut, probably 50+ years old. This has recently been restored by DOC as an example of an early deer cullers hut and, as can be seen from the photos (one of which shows what it used to look like with tin cladding) is very “rustic”. It is very dark inside and we wondered how the fire would warm it in the winter. We got something of a surprise to find an ex-army Unimog vehicle there and found out that it belongs to a group who got a grant to establish a horse trail route through the area. It hadn’t been used for several months.

Next day, we retraced some of the previous route and headed up the Tutaekuri River to the excellent Tutaekuri Hut, passing four fishermen on the way, one of who was busy reeling in a large trout. Surprisingly, not many people visit this hut (at least, according to the logbook) and we shared it with a couple of hunters that night, one of whom was the person who caught (and released) the large trout we saw him playing earlier. Nice chaps who went out hunting in the evening (they got a spiker) and Tom enjoyed reminiscing with one of them as he knew many people Tom did from his Reefton days. 

Our next hut to bag was the Mid-Trent Hut, which, according to Charlies estimate, was about four hours up the Trent River so our plan was to go there and back, with light packs, in the day. (About 24kms total).

Once again, we had stunning weather and it was an easy walk until we encountered a gorge-like part of the river which slowed us down as we worked out the best way to get through some of the trickier sections. Following the previous weeks deluge, the rivers were still up a little. 

A superb tramp with lovely views and, about five and a half hours later, we were at the Mid Trent Hut. This is a DOC hut which was restored by DOC about 10 years old, and is a lovely hut, seldom visited by trampers (if the hut log book is to be believed). Most of the people who stay there appear to helicopter in, hunt for a while, and then helicopter out.

We enjoyed our lunch at this stunning location before retracing our steps (we knew the best routes by now) back to the empty Tutaekuri Hut for the night-about an eleven and a half hour day. It’s fair to say we were happy to see the hut loom into view and didn’t need much rocking that night!

Next day was an easy walk out to the road end although finding the track (none of the tracks were marked) in thick gorse proved to be something of a challenge initially.
This is a nice, relatively easy tramp, provided the river levels are low, and that there is no rain forecast, as the rivers here rise very quickly.
The photos show in chronological order. 

Click here for photos,

Our Hutbaggers team consisted of Charlie Ledbrook, Tom Cholmondeley and Paul Knox (Scribe)
 

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