When you spend a lot of time in the hills on your own you tend to read anything in the hut.

The more remote the hut, generally the more interesting hut book entries, and visits further back in time are recorded.

I tend to look for familiar names: friends who have visited previously; celebrity trampers, ie, people who have published articles in Wilderness magazine; people from the Nelson Tramping Club who I have never met but see their names often enough; ex girlfriends, etc.

Dieter Kraft is one, he generally write a book length entry, well, plenty to read.

Henriette Beikirch is more concise, usually a single line, in neat slightly back-leaning script. Man, she often seems to be visiting just days before me in some places. She was at the Ministry of Works Hut earlier in the summer just a few days before me for instance.

Suddenly, around 7 pm last night someone turns up, in from the road, she’s the first person I’ve seen for six nights since I was back at Stone Hut.

It’s Henry, we have finally met.

She’s up to camp at the second set of tarns on the 100 Acre Plateau for a couple of nights, that’s a bit further round than the larger 1000 Acre Plateau, and due to the lateness of the hour and finding me friendly enough she decides to stay. She’s a hut warden on the Heaphy Track for the summer, hence her visit to the Ministry of Works Hut for a sanity break. She’s been back in subsequently to my visit and read my description of my trip up from the Kahurangi Lighthouse.

She did the Southern Traverse, Farewell Spit too Fiordland over two summers, 2013 to 14, which is why her name kept popping up in obscure places.

We seem to be two of the most well tramped people in New Zealand over the last two years so there’s plenty to discuss. We did go on a bit, lucky there wasn’t anyone else in the hut.

And continuing in the morning.

But eventually we peeled off, I was going to stay at the Lake Matiri Hut close to the roadend, H off up The Haystack and The Needle, and then camping by the 100 Acre Plateau tarns for a couple of nights.

I made haste slowly, attacking thistles here and there, taking an interest in the sundew, a species of insectivorous plants near some small tarns. I hadn’t proceeded far when a small dot, perhaps a rare alpine gazelle, was seen almost at the top of The Haystack.

I just had to do the kilometres to Lake Matiri Hut, but it was hot so I lazed around the newly relocated Poor Petes Hut.

On Day 11 of this trip I’m looking forward to some fresh food in Murchison tomorrow.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Lake Matiri Hut

The early morning view from Lake Matiri Hut. | Matiri Ridge and Valley, Kahurangi National Park
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