Trip Report: Midweek Mountaineer’s DOC Hut Maintenance
by Charlie Catt
Last winter the idea of helping DoC with hut maintenance was discussed by some of the mid-week mountaineers, and to this end five of us (Neil Pilbrow, Dave Kennedy, Rod Thomson, Charlie Catt and Carolyn Catt) set off for the upper reaches of the Wilberforce River and some of its tributaries to administer some TLC to four backcountry huts. The work was overseen by Jim Henderson (DoC) and he was accompanied by his family; Claire, Mari (11) and Hamish (7). We carried out a range of tasks, including painting the outside of two huts, repairing windows on some others, cleaning out the insides of all of them and removing rubbish.
Thanks need to go to Neil for organising things from the NZAC end, and to Jim for sorting things out on the DoC side, and especially to the latter for his enthusiasm (probably not shared by some of his superiors in DoC) for deciding to work on these old and not so frequently used huts, the oldest dating from 1933.
Thanks also need to go to Claire for providing more food, much of it home made, than we could eat. Having a grunty 4WD and a quad bike allowed a lot of fresh food to be brought up, and in some cases even our packs were transported part way to the huts, although we did a fair bit of footslogging and river crossings. It was agreed by all that the five days were both well spent and highly enjoyable, and we hope to do something similar next year.
Posted By: Sefton Priestley