“I know a really great hut, up on the Banks Peninsula, an easy walk in for kids–want to book it for a weekend with the families?” It was probably three months ago that Ian suggested the plan. This particular DOC hut is so enormously popular that it has a booking system, so you must lock in a weekend trip well in advance, and you can’t reschedule in the event of rain. Good thing we were going with the Weatherproof Brits. Come rain, hail, cloud or shine, they will cheerfully follow through with the plan.
First off, one must wear one’s best pink attire for hiking. Fashion makes for happiness.
It doesn’t matter that the pink gets covered up in red wet weather gear–it’s what’s on the inside that counts. These totara trees aren’t flexibly blowing in the wind. They are permanently deformed, buffeted by near constant wind until only the shoots that emerge on the leeward side survive.
It was only an hour’s walk to the hut, but the blustery sky was starting to glower and spit, and it was good to duck inside–still warm from the previous residents.
The kids carried in fire wood and we stoked the pot belly stove all afternoon, watching clouds envelope the hut until it felt truly remote.
It turns out that logs make good fort building materials, and the kids contentedly set up shop. Adults drank coffee, I knitted on a hat.
I baked rolls for dinner. I like the Pittsburgh stove, a little reminder of home, and warm winter houses. I like New Zealand, really I do, but the home heating is furnaceless, mired in the dark ages of single pane windows,and uninsulated floors.. It was a treat to make a room warm enough to comfortably wear short sleeves. The windows in the hut are better than those in our house.
Jeremiah baked ziti for dinner. Our English friends had to google ziti during our email planning to figure out what it was. “Lazy man’s lasagna,” we described it. It was yummy, again done on the Pittsburgh stove.
The composting toilet was very civilized, and didn’t smell, despite heavy usage. The only improvement I’d suggest would be to turn the window to the view side.
Bed time for Bonzo. We put the younger kids to bed in the top bunks and took out a deck of Quiddler and a bottle of beer for the evening.
Emma said we were the noisiest family she has ever shared a room with. Jeremiah snores (clearly), and apparently Naomi and Milo talk in their sleep. I slept through nearly all of it.
The stars came out during the night and the next day “dawned clear and fresh as could be, blue sky and never a cloud, with the sun dancing on the water.” Now we could fully appreciate the view from the hut windows.
A short walk into the hut means we can really go luxurious with the breakfast. Sausages and eggs with cinnamon rolls (again, complements of the wood stove).
Here’s the whole gang, ready to roll out in the morning.
A family weekend, enhanced all-round by the company of friends.
As long as the menu is the same, let’s do that the next time we’re there!