French Ridge hut
Mt. Aspiring National Park, NZ
Notices posted on the kitchen wall of French Ridge hut:
Seriously, we freaking love these people.
By now we’ve mentioned it enough that you’re probably asking “Hey guys? What are these huts and wardens and whatnot you keep talking about?”
Glad you asked! The New Zealand hut program provides shelters strategically placed throughout national parks to serve as safe refuge for hikers. The program also provides funding for wardens like our friend who, in addition to living in and maintaining the huts, also provide a radio net guard check in & check out system for hikers’ safety. Considering the weather conditions in this country favor a tad on the chilly side and the country, especially the South Island, is very sparsely populated, it’s a really good idea and the huts are well used by people in New Zealand’s vast backcountry.
Except for the week we were there. Remember how we mentioned there was supposed to be a storm blowing in the next day? Well it decided to keep us company for the week. But between a nigh-endless supply of stout tea, Dan’s rations of sweetened condensed milk tubes, our ukulele, his violin, the car tire-eating local parrots, a few puzzles, the scenery and our combined masochistic sense of humor we managed to have a grand time anyway.
The two liters of sweet white wine Greg dragged up the mountain in his backpack probably helped too…
Priorities people, this is New Zealand wine we’re talking about after all!
Speaking of glaciers we forgot to mention one more thing: at some point, we all partook in what ended up being the primary entertainment for us during the week: using the outhouse:
It wasn’t our first storm and it probably won’t be our last. At least this time Greg didn’t have to strap himself to a propane stove in 18 foot seas just to make lunch!
Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures. If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out at www.CoastGuardCouple.com!