Kakapotahi River Area, West Coast - October 2022
Dickie Spur Hut occupies a terrace near the bushline above the Tuke River, south of Hokitika. It’s most often reached on a track up the Mikonui River, past Mikonui Flats Hut, up the Tuke to Truran Pass. From there, a staunch climb leads up Dickie Spur itself. The four-bunk, ex-Forest Service hut recently received some welcome attention from a combined team of Backcountry Trust volunteers and builders. They did a great job, and Dickie Spur Hut is looking tip-top.
The Dickie Spur team included Tom Hayes from Christchurch (a veteran of work on Healy Creek Hut), Mike Sheridan, Mark 'Will' Williamson, Clint Jarvis, Paul Chinn (Chinny) and Backcountry Trust manager Rob Brown.
Rob reports: ‘Dickie Spur Hut has been getting more traffic as people use the Top Tuke route into Ivory Lake Hut, which in recent years has been attracting increasing attention as an iconic destination. DOC did some excellent work on Top Tuke Hut. In October, builders Hayden and Miquel Dijkstra completing this project when they installed tie downs.’
‘Keen tramper Mike works for DOC in Wellington doing IT, so thought it might be fun to volunteer on a BCT job. Why he would willingly subject himself to the building site banter as well as Chinny’s boom box music was beyond us. Was something afoot? Perhaps Mike was a head office spy? So on Day One we resolved to work his sorry posterior into the ground … but when it turned out that this couldn't be further from the truth, we eased off.’
'Even though the hut has been on this exposed site for over 50 years, all the tie downs, corner piles and connections had to be re-done to modern standards.'
‘Clint and Will pulled off the roof before lunch. Dickie Spur Hut was one of the last huts on the West Coast tops still with lead in the roof, so out it all came. Meanwhile Tom, Mike, Chinny and myself got into the four anchor piles, which required mixing nearly a tonne of concrete by hand in the wheelbarrow.’
‘On Day two, we fitted new windows, constructed tie down points and finished the roof. Mike got started with the painting using Dulux 'Colombo Street' - the same that Tom had used at Healy Creek Hut.’
‘The interior floor got a coat of boiled linseed. All that remains now is just a bit of internal painting to be finished at some later stage.’
‘Huge thanks to Andersons Helicopters for their efficient and professional service once again. Thanks also to Chinny's parents who accommodated and fed us for two nights while we prepared all the materials. That kind koha really helped the budget! Much appreciation to the DOC Hokitika builders Nige Schroder and Miquel Dijkstra for letting us invade their workshop, despite having plenty of their own work, and helping with all the road-end support to make our job go so smoothly.’
So go and visit Dickie Spur. As Rob says, ‘It’s a great spot in a big West Coast landscape.’