New Zealand back country huts are unique and open for everyone. All you have to do is make the effort to get to them!
You can’t beat them for location, they are always a welcome sight when you get to them and they all provide a useful stepping stone for tomorrow’s next adventure.
They have various origins – from the early mountaineering clubs of the 1900’s, the government-backed deer culling operations of the 1950’s, the NZ Forest Service that transitioned to NZ Forest Corporation, various local tramping clubs and nowadays owned by the Department of Conservation.
Design, materials, size – there are many flavours of hut but it’s always interesting to see what each hut contains for the reading pleasure of the next occupant.
While in Arthur’s Pass over Christmas I had two different experiences.- I spent a rest day in Park Morpeth Hut, one of the huts on the 3 Passes route. Being a hut owned and maintained by the Canterbury Mountaineering Club I guess I should not have been surprised to find a fairly comprehensive set of the CMC’s annual magazine. Lying back reading through these magazines was an interesting re-introduction to well-known NZ mountaineers. It was an easy and enjoyable way to take a rain enforced rest day.
Worsley biv provided another interesting find. 2 copies of the National Geographic. In itself not surprising – but the dates of the magazines and their almost perfect condition was! 1965 and 1974 – some interesting stories, but most entertaining were the advertisements, especially from the earlier edition. Advertisements for Eastman Kodak and Hasalblad cameras, Seiko wrist watches, ride on lawn movers, overseas holidays and colour televisions (the size of a small fridge) all signs of success for the then “modern” US family. And several pages of classified ad’s enticing parents to enrol their son’s for next years intake to military school.
Not quite the same perspective as the CMC annual magazine but possibly a more interesting snapshot on social and life changes over the past 50-60 years.
I couldn’t help myself and took photos of many of the advertisements. Take a look through the photo gallery and enjoy the trip back to the 1960’s…..