Shute’s Hut, from Comet Road-end, Northern Ruahine Ranges, Saturday 23 April 2022. Map: BK37
Banner Photo: The group, including Ricky (circled)
We are back into tramping again, after many cancellations during March and early April due to heavy rainfall. With a full van, and an assurance from another club member that Comet Road was OK, 11 plus a mystery guest named Ricky the Rabbit were going to Shute’s Hut.After the safety briefing, we headed out and up to the Komata Trig which is surrounded by huge pine trees. The walk then is then through more pines, then changing to bush near the drop-off to the steep downhill. Shortly there is the first of several lookout points, with the first giving a good view of Timahanga Station in the distance. On reaching the Taruarau River, we were pleased to see that it was easy to cross, but we practised assisted crossing anyway. There are several methods to use, each appropriate to the river levels and flow and river bed. The crossing here was a gravel bed, so easy peasy. In fact, the water was quite warm.
After a short break, we headed on to the hut which was about 30 minutes away. The repainted roof (from orange to red), and quaint chimney flue with good tie-downs were indications of its refurb in January 2021, thanks to the Back Country Trust and the three guys who volunteered. It is great that we are keeping historic huts in good condition.The hut is named after Alex Shute, who was a rabbiter for Poporangi Station. Ricky’s owner kept this information to herself. E Smith and Alex Shute built the hut in 1920, and lived there for 12 years. It is one of the few in the North Island made of local stone. The interior is also looking neat and tidy.
After our lunch break sitting in the sunshine, we had to head back up the 700m climb from the river again. Some were not looking forward to it, but needs must. In fact we made it back to the van in just under three hours from the hut. So, good going.
I checked out Comet Hut, and it is a disgrace. Unpleasant graffiti is not the way to display your artistic talent.
We had all made it to Shute’s Hut, and had a good workout walking through regenerataing kanuka. I hope that one day we will see some other tree species growing up through the kanuka, restoring the land to its previous forest.
Thanks to Alison for driving; we were all pleased to have a great day out visiting an historic hut in the Northern Ruahine Ranges.
Trampers: Marie Deroles, Johanne Karlsson, Sue Martin, Razwana Leonard, Alison Greer, Shona Tupe (and her guest Ricky), Campbell Living, Kate Fuller, Bryn Morgan, Gaye Gasser and author Julia Mackie. Gordon Tapp did his own thing, making it to the drop-off before returning, and pulling pine saplings on the way.