Ruahine Forest Park, Hawke’s Bay – 21-24 February 2022
The Ruahine Range isn’t known for its precious metals, but perhaps gold of a different sort lent its name to Gold Creek. Gold Creek Hut is a tidy four-bunker located in the mid-reaches of Gold Creek, a tributary of the Makarora River. It’s reached either on a track on a bush ridge above the valley, or up the creek itself. Built in 1958, it was one of the first standard S81 huts to be erected by the Forest Service in the Ruahine Range.
Like many other Ruahine huts, Gold Creek Hut needed some attention, and thanks to a grant from the Kaimahi for Nature Fund, it got a great tidy-up in February. Joe Eagles led the KFN team of four, which included Corey Loynes, Vince Marsiglia and Tyrell Hillman.
Joe tells the story.
‘Day 1. We made an early morning trip to the end of Wakarara Road (near Ongaonga) with a trailer full of gear. After flying in, we were straight into it. We removed half of the roof and stripped out the old chipboard ceiling, and replaced it with new pre-painted ply sheets, purlins and DOC orange roofing iron. We also prepared the site for the new woodshed.
'Day 2. As it was still cloudy and cool, we decided to strip the rest of the roof off early and get it done. Joe prepped the fireplace and surround, installed a new Wagener Cooktop Stove and the boys carried on and completed the construction of the woodshed, finishing at 8 p.m.'
'Day 3. Because these little huts don’t have enough iron to re-use for woodshed cladding, we used a mix of old tin and new. It looks great. We finished the stove installation and all the roof flashings, then did a massive clean-up by 5 p.m. While Joe used the scrubcutter to tidy-up the helicopter pad and around the hut, the boys went off deerstalking up the creek. Then it started raining. By 8 p.m. the hunters had arrived back with two deer and a huge smile – it was the first deer for one of the boys.'
‘Day 4. A bit of rain during the night left us wondering whether we would get out. However the skies cleared and the chopper flew in with the building inspector at 9 a.m. All was good, so we started ferrying the gear back to the carpark.’
‘Gold Creek is a great little hut. We heard some whio (blue ducks) and saw a kārearea (New Zealand falcon) as well as kererū and ruru (morepork). Thanks to the Backcountry Trust’s Megan Dimozantos for all the hard work behind the scenes, Owen from MidWest Helicopters for a professional job, and DOC's Demelza Low for support and assisting in co-ordinating materials.’