We drove to Arthur’s Pass for the swap-over. It’s such big country over there, overwhelming. Underlines your insignificance and then adds an exclamation mark.
Henry and I had an adventure of our own. We walked into a little hut in the Craigieburn Forest and stayed the night. It was a basic hut with a place to sleep and a tap outside. We indulged in instant mashed potato with our dinner and toasted marshmallows over the gas cooker. We played cards by candlelight and then went to bed early, worn out by the fresh mountain air.
We got up early and ate breakfast in the sun. We splashed in the river a bit and laughed at the keas. Then we went to meet the twins who had walked themselves out of the Hawdon Valley. Full of stories about climbing tall trees to watch for hikers and swimming in snow-fed streams, setting trap lines for stoats and tagging endangered native birds. But very much looking forward to hot showers, flushing toilets and lights at the flick of a switch. It was exciting to be away with Dad and practically DOC employees themselves but it’s also rather wonderful to be home.