As we continue to monitor the earthquake news out of Christchurch, I'm thinking that I should go ahead with the rest of the blog posts in the spirit of the the ever-flowing tides of life. This is probably a good subject to start back up with, as I think it might show non-Kiwis a very small and specific glimpse into the strong character of New Zealand's people.
Do you remember when I mentioned the DOC huts a few posts ago? The NZ Dept. of Conservation maintains what they call huts in the parks and along popular tracks. Because most all of these are only seen after one hikes for a full day and stops for the night, we didn't see any. We did hear about them many times though. The huts would come up in conversation often, because as I said, it's very common for Kiwis to head off and walk for a few days through the woods and mountains. It's not as if there are Hilton Garden Inns along these tracks, so you either camp out for the night or sleep on a plastic-coated mattress in a hut. Either way you bring in (and take out) all supplies -- food, water, bedding, etc.
Here's where I will sound like a big sissy again and that's OK. The huts were reputed to be open and shared by any and all for around $10/night, and that was true. As in -- everyone sleeps in the same room! Right next to each other, 6 in a row on top and 6 in a row on the bottom. Two big ladders. I don't even like hotels, so there really was no way I could consider bunking with a bunch of strangers. Strangers who would be snoring, moving gases through their bodies, sneezing and coughing all night, and God knows what else. Really?? Good lord, no way! But nearly everyone we talked to had done this many times. They go right along with the flow and they don't shy away from the less than palatable stuff. I guess I didn't meet all 4 million Kiwis, but that generalization seemed to hold true pretty often.
Since we kayaked into the park we were far enough in that we were able to finally check out a hut in person!! I thought I'd never see the day. This one, The Anchorage, was just steps away from the beach and had two big bunk rooms, a large kitchen to share, and restrooms just a short distance away. By the way, neither the restrooms nor the bunkrooms were divided by gender in any way. Yikes!! Yes, I know I'll never win the Fearless Cool Kiwi Outdoorswoman of 2011 award. I'm fine with that.
Pretty interesting to look through the log books to see where everyone had come from. It was holiday time when we were there so the entries were from all over. Cool!
Even Ohio! Alright!! :o)
Hope everyone is well. Keep thinking good thoughts for the people in Christchurch. They're going to need that for a while.