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Tribulation Hut                                                                                                                                                17th – 18th January

On a nor westerly Saturday Catherine, Neville, and I left early for an enjoyable grass roots tramp to Tribulation Hut. Creation of this Redcliffe Conservation Area in 2009 followed tenure review. While the track is mostly well marked, some incomplete fencing blurs the boundaries in places. However it was easy enough to follow sometimes the stream, an old bulldozed track, fence lines, or old stock tracks to climbing to a large terraced area and on to the Redcliffe Saddle gaining 500m in the process. From there it was an easy 4km mainly downhill with a tail wind to the refurbished hut right beside Swift River for lunch.

The words “trials and tribulations” kept running through my head. But there were none. We had decided to take the simplest route in. The alternative of climbing over Rat Hill (a further 450m ascent) was unappealing on this hot breezy day so I was spared that pain. I guess the only slight tribulation was provided by the barley grass constantly embedding itself in our woollen socks – irritating and time consuming to remove.                                                                                          

After a rest out of the heat in the clean hut, complete with new concrete floor, we followed the river down, dodging sheep and the odd pair of paradise ducks, to check out the private Cookies Hut. It was sited on a terrace above confluence of the Swift with the North Ashburton River. Back at Tribulation Hut it was great being back on a club trip sharing simple delicious food. We had been earlier treated to the sight of a large freshly killed pig being carried triumphantly atop a 4WD full of men and dogs. Otherwise the traffic passing was all woolly.                               

The hut was rock solid in blustery overnight winds. It was calmer though still hot for the journey out. We kept pace for a while with a friendly seagull flying into the wind. There was a slight loss of route at one point but mainly great views to be had looking northwards across the Rakaia towards the Coleridge area. The effects of the North West conditions on the river were obvious with the Rakaia up and dirty. A quick Staverly Café stop rounded off a lovely weekend for which we thank Catherine.

Alison.