Isolation In the Waimakariri Falls Hut

swbugas Member Posts: 46
edited April 1 in ROUTES & TRAILS

Hello to everyone out there at the Trailhead, I sincerely hope all is well. This last month, I moved down to New Zealand from the PNW, a move that has made me a very very happy guy. Since arriving, I've taken on a bit of a photography project that I'll be working on and releasing in the coming year, at this time, though, the goal is to visit as many of the remote red huts in New Zealand's back country as possible.

To this point, I've been absolutely amazed by these huts. Not only the effort that must have gone into building many of them, as well as the ongoing effort to maintain them, but the fact that they integrate so well into the wildly remote landscapes in which some of them are placed. It's been a pleasure beginning this project, and a highlight was most definitely my night spent at the Waimakariri Falls Hut...

The Waimak Falls Hut cost me a lot. I underestimated the hike in and out, for some reason with a total expected miles of 13 in my head, but a total ACTUALLY hiked of 35 (this cost me some sanity as I honestly just felt dumb). I then took a spill crossing a waterfall that bisected the trail I was following, and while arresting my fall, I lost my wedding ring. Hours of searching and no less than half my body aching with sandfly bites, I had to move on. A sour attitude felt inescapable; that is until I arrived at the Waimak Falls Hut.

The trail takes you from the broad, dry river plains at the outskirts of Arthurs Pass, along the rivers and towards the steepening mountains, forcing you to cross river after river. Finally, you angle off into a stone squeeze as the walls around you grow higher, the valley grows thinner, and you navigate upward, by root and rock, passing extraordinary waterfalls, until you finally reach the Waimak Falls Hut.

Alone in the hut, I felt a sense of solitude I haven't felt in years, and I soaked up every last second of it. Inside, there were journals dating back to the 1940s recounting the endeavours of the Canterbury Mountaineering Club who established most of the huts in this area.

Having done most of my backpacking in the PNW, this experience is entirely different, and to say it's addicting would be an understatement. I am always scanning maps for remote huts now, waiting for a window to visit another remote pocket in time.

Thanks for reading!