Rakiura National Park, Stewart island – November 2021
East Ruggedy Hut is one of the best-situated huts on Rakiura’s famous Northwest Circuit. This 8-10 day trip offers sometimes challenging tramping in bush, along coastlines, and with a healthy dose of old-fashioned mud. Rewards include the rare chance to tramp for days along a rugged, natural coastline, to appreciate the bush and coastal birds, and the pleasure of staying at some of best coastal huts in the country. East Ruggedy Hut is set back from the dunes of East Ruggedy Beach, against a backdrop of gnarled rimu. However, as for many other huts along the circuit, local rangers have struggled to find the funds for regular maintenance of the facility. Happily, Kaimahi for Nature (Jobs for Nature) funding came available through a Backcountry Trust-generated application, and November was the time for some hard mahi on site.
The team included Mark Williamson and Clint Jarvis. Joining them was Backcountry Trust manager Rob Brown, who had this to report:
'It has been some years since East Ruggedy Hut had seen much maintenance with plenty of small jobs needing attention. Work included removing the old woodshed at the side of the hut and building a new one, repairing the deck and removing an old tank stand. The floor too had never been re-sealed and the chipboard had started to suffer. Using an orbital sander, we smoothed the floor before applying two coats of clear sealer.'
'A start was made on the exterior painting, which this will be finished later by a volunteer group. The exterior gutter on the western side, well past its best, was replaced with a new Marley Typhoon gutter system. The subfloor fixings also saw some work. We replaced the old galvanised wire tie-downs with a thousand dollars worth of new stainless steel fixings.'
'The last job of four days was replacing a piece of alkathene pipe. A rat had tried to eat through this, hoping to gain entry into the hut. The rat failed, but not before triggered a leak in the pipe.'