Howletts Hut

2-4 April Easter

Eventually the numbers became three for this trip so, after collecting Anne and Simon, we were underway at 7am in my ute. It is quicker and shorter with less climb to go via the original [25 years ago] track through Kashmir Farm. So we went into 4WD and across the farm to Moorcocks Stream. Anne then sensibly suggested that if we, as planned, came out via Longview, then it was going to be a gravel slog back to the vehicle. So back out we went, up the road and parked at the current Daphne carpark.

The ‘new’ track is another 350m climb so a bit slower then down to the Tukituki for wet feet. We all looked forward to the grunt up Daphne Spur, yeah right! It was predicted and was a windy day, getting battered once leaving the bush-line and up through the leatherwood belt up to the ridge, probably  wind speed at 80 or so km at the top.

Howletts Hut

We had our three nights tucker but a group of hunters who were flying out the next day had lots of food left so we were invited to share. An enormous pot of spuds, kumara, carrots was cooked, along with onions and mushrooms, sausages, meat patties and prime steak. There was enough for them and us and more! They got underway at 9am next day after a miracle of a calm starry night and just a slight breeze. With about 60kg of boned out venison [ leaving some back steaks for us!] and all their gear and leftovers, they needed two trips to get away. So we were left with the left over cooked steaks, patties and sausages…these stowed outside in the covered frypan  to keep cool. We then fried up half of the veges as bubble and squeak for part of our breakfast.  

Later in the morning we left for the compulsory climb up to Tiraha which was most enjoyed by Simon as he had not been to the area. Good views were to be had but not Ruapehu. Back down at the hut we had a go at getting the sponge rubber and vinyl that I had carried up to upholster a vandalised chair. This involved much discussion and free advice amongst us as how best to achieve the wanted outcome! As the chair had a steel frame for the back, Simon tied a friction buckle strap as a back rest and a 20kg empty coal bag was tied on to put the finishing touches to the masterpiece. Dinner on the Saturday night was a bonus as we re-cooked/heated the aforementioned meats, used the still voluminous veges in a fry up that made a kings feast.

The hut on Saturday night was full, us three, three hunters from the Waikato, a family of four from Wellington and another party of three from Wellington too. It was great to see a family with two kids of about 10 and 12 out there doing it. Others called and passed through on their way. Next day, Sunday we had planned to go over the tops to Longview for the night but the winds were back again, so regrettably the decision was made to go out a day early, the way we had come in. The river was the lowest I have ever seen it so travel was easier and faster. Six hours later we arrived at the carpark.                                                                       

Party: Simon W, Anne C and John M