Partway along the Milford Road we detoured to do a bit of hiking. Shocking, I know!
We headed towards Gunn’s Camp, near the start of the Hollyford track. The weather was iffy, raining off and on, so we were slightly concerned with the long hike in. However, as soon as we arrived the clouds cleared and the sun came out. We were in luck again!
We would be hiking 19.5 km to the second DOC hut on the track. We met the lovely owners at Gunn’s, who gave us a pack of matches so we would be able to eat that evening! Packs on our backs, we were off.
Our destination: Alabaster Hut
Today’s hike was very differnet to Milford, and it’s different to many we have hiked since. The path winds and weaves through the forest, allowing for a quiet, protected walk, the Hollyford River meandering not far away.
Stopping for lunch.
Back on the trail - Gareth in a tree! Being a tree!
Weaving over the rivers and streams repeatedly meant traipsing swinging bridge after swinging bridge. Not for those afraid of heights…or swinging things. This walk is known for its waterfalls, and soon we found our way to the first of the bigger falls.
Hidden Falls has a clever name. As you can guess it can’t be seen from the bridge or the path, so we took the short side trail to find it tucked around the corner. Through the warm, glorious sun we strolled into spray carried upon a chilly breeze.
Because of the inscessant spray from the falls we couldn’t capture the shot we would have liked. Instead, we continued on our way across the swing bridge.
Gareth on Homer Saddle!
This was a long walk, and it took us a good few hours to do. There were hills as we climbed up and over Homer’s Saddle, but nothing too intense.
The end of the day. You can see the hut in the background, which by the looks of things I’m ready for!
The hut is right on the edge of Lake Alabaster. We had a quick look before dumping our bags in the sturdy building.
The DOC huts have bunk rooms. This one was different from any others we had seen so far - as you can see, there is one long slab of wood for multiple people to sleep on. This means, if it was full, we’d be sleeping next to strangers. Luckily there were two bunk rooms in this hut, and only two couples. We each had a private room!
A lovely wood stove to keep us warm.
A typical DOC kitchen. Metal countertops spread througout the room so we could spread out all of our gear. There is running water that is drinkable - trust me this is a Godsend so you don’t have to carry more than a day’s worth - and plenty of room to set up our little one burner camp stove.
As usual, we passed out early, cozy and warm in the hut. Hiking exhausts us, and we always sleep well.
The next morning we awoke to the promise of rain from laden clouds overhead. Thankfully it held off long enough for Gareth to make the most of nature’s soft box. The cloudy, overcast day filtered even light upon Little Homer Falls.
Not long after leaving the falls the rain finally came in abundance.
Well worth getting a bit wet for.
Shauna & Gareth