Pinchgut Hut, Mt Thomas Conservation Area

13 – 14 June 2020

On cold clear morning, we squeezed packs into the back of the car and Liz drove us the short distance to Loburn for our first club trip since COVID lockdown. This was the first PTC club trip for Ian and Haroon, and between them they made a good contribution to lowering the average age for the trip. Kerry Moore and Peter Umbers had been up the valley on several occasions previously over the autumn to lay wasp bait, and had given us the heads up on the need to ford the Okuku River. Despite the slippery rocks and cold feet in crocks we managed to make the crossing with dignity relatively intact bar the loss one jandal.

The track passed through stands of kanuka, beech forest and young kowhai. After about 3 hours of easy travel we reached the 7 bunk Pinchgut Hut. As we enjoyed lunch in the last of the sun, day trippers and hunters headed out with heavy packs and smiles of success. We were happy as we scored the bunks.

There was a good supply of dead manuka nearby so we set about sawing up a good supply of firewood to get us through a predicted frosty night. We had also carried in dry kindling, so in no time the hut was warm, and we were enjoying a shared meal of Liz’s smoked chicken and pasta, followed by Diane’s plum pudding and custard (see the recipe above). The evening was spent playing Zilch, then a card game and sharing stories of trips that did not quite go to plan. With a full tummy’s, the people on the top bunk struggled up the ladder and reflected on how nice it was to share good company in the hills.

Diane was first up on Sunday morning and boiled the billy for those of us who were having a sleep in. We walked out into the warmth of the sun. We are keen to return for a trip to Bob’s Camp Bivvy. It is great having access to a hut within easy reach of Christchurch.

The trampers were: Liz Wightwick (leader), Diane Mellish, Dan Pryce, Haroon Sheikh and Ian Wightwick (IW)

Pinchgut Hut. Photo courtesy of Liz Wightwick

Ian, Haroon and Dan. Photo courtesy of Liz Wightwick