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Hutbagging Trip to Elizabeth and Top Trent Huts Dec 2018

Friday, December 14, 2018

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Hutbagging Trip to Elizabeth and Top Trent Hut Dec 2018
This trip took us up the Haupiri River, on the West Coast and ticked of the other huts in this area as yet “unbagged”. (Our last trip was up the Trent River to Mid Trent Hut, so this was completing the circuit).

Beautiful weather and low water levels greeted the four of us (Charlie Ledbrook, Gavin Hampton, Stu McHugh and myself) us as we set off up the Haupiri River, after first checking in at Gloriavale. The trip into Elizabeth Hut was relatively easy going, being on a 4wd track initially, and only a few undulations and the only possible challenge – the crossing of Cone Creek-proving to be easily overcome. We had a look at some small hot pools which are marked on some maps. A lot of work had been done in the past with concrete poured to form a pool which now has a cover over it. However, it certainly didn’t look very inviting and we weren’t tempted. Elizabeth hut is a typical six bunker Forestry hut and is in very good condition, and we got there in a leisurely five hours. It gets a few visitors-mostly from Gloriavale residents, according to the logbook.

Next morning was overcast with the likelihood of rain (it did, but not really good West Coast rain!) and we headed up the Haupiri River to the Trent Saddle. The going started to get a bit tougher now and Stu, who is more elderly than the rest of the elderly group decided he’d have a relaxing day having a look around while we went up to and over Trent Saddle and down to the Top Trent Hut.
The track was well marked and cleared to the saddle and relatively easy but then there were only markers, and mainly no tracks through very tall and wet tussock, and then scrub and bush, until we arrived at Top Trent hut in the rain, four hours after leaving Elizabeth hut.

Top Trent is a small, four bunker with no water, fire or toilet, and gets very few visitors. (About three this year). It is in good condition having been given a makeover in 2015 by Paul Reid and friends, from the Permolat group assisted by funding from the High Country Consortium recently and would be a very welcome haven in bad weather. Check out this 

After a welcome lunch break we headed back to Trent saddle, in light rain, less than enthusiastic about the plod through deep, wet tussock. The trip back seemed easier apart from one hairy descent into a creek bed on loose scree. Stu was waiting for us in the hut and then the rain set in so Stu had the fire going in no time, and we soon had our gear drying nicely, with some music courtesy of a Bluetooth speaker PK had. (Much discussion about the difference between “wireless” and “Bluetooth” ensued-none of it conclusive.) An eight hour day.

Next day was fine, warm and very humid as we walked out to the car, filling in the time by have a prolonged discussion about the difference between a Col, a Pass and a Saddle. (Check it out on Google-if you don’t know.)

Two more huts bagged to add to Charlies impressive and Paul’s (less impressive) tally. Great to have Gavin and Stu along-(the old magic’s still there Stu!)
Click here for photos
Paul Knox

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