As the year seems to accelerate towards me, hitting this trail consumes my spare time. Reading, researching, generally pondering about gear, the trail, pros and cons, and of course my (lack of) fitness…

So to escape it all this weekend I went hiking! A quick overnight trip to a hut sounded ideal. After a little research, I stumbled across Crosbies hut. The pinnacles lesser know sibling. While all the paths to the pinnacles are knocked out by flooding and damaged tracks, the paths on the other side are all… functional. Nothing like a weekend away in the bush to help re-evaluate what is important.

Early Saturday morning (730am, early by my standards) I hit the road. While there was a forecast of thunderstorms for most of the North Island, I decided to run the risk. Driving in hearing weather warnings made me a little more nervous. Arriving into the town of Thames at about 930am, I received a quick call from one of the DOC rangers at the visitor center double checking if I was still going, and what tracks I’d be using.

After finding a gas canister to replace the one left at home, I made my way to the trailhead. Had a quick chat with a local who was headed into the bush pig hunting, before he vanished into the scrub. I used the Karaka tramping track to make my way in. The trail was in reasonable shape but doesn’t see a huge amount of use, hence doesn’t sit very high on DOC’s to be maintained list. There was a number of trees down and some substantial slips where the Coromandel’s once gold filled hills had given way.
It was secluded, it was wild, it was beautiful.

I came to the top of the range and could hear the thunder rumbling in the distance, encouraging me forwards. Suddenly the sky darkened and the thunder didn’t sound so far away. I precautionarily donned my rain jacket, only to be pummeled by a deluge of hail moments later. It soon softened to rain and even that didn’t last long as I arrived at the amazing vistas surrounding Crosbies Hut.

The Hut itself is brilliant, just a 10 bunker, has some rainwater and a firebox. It’s a step away from the more traditional DOC hut designs, but it takes full advantage of the location it is in, with windows taking in all the views surrounding it.

I shared the hut this evening with 3 others:
Another Westie – ex-army, hiking and mountaineering his whole life. Full of information and good chats.
Two British teachers – both crazy guys, crazy about the outdoors and living life to the fullest. Lads.
A little bit a whiskey and some candles meant we got to know each other during our short time in the hut as all topics were discussed long after sundown.
The next morning, the others were all headed out the same way they came in, The Waiomu track and kauri grove. This was my back up, but after hearing how good the track is, became my way home too.
I walked out at a very leisurely pace, being the last to leave the hut meant I was alone the whole day. With the rain and mud and wildlife for company.

Making my way back to civilization in the little town of Waiomu – where a pit stop in a cafe was on the cards – before hitchhiking my way back to my car in Thames. A weekend well spent!

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