Another fabulous weekend exploring Wellington’s wilderness! It started out as a last minute idea on Friday afternoon; why not do an overnight hike to a hut just outside of town?
We had invited my colleague and her partner to join us and we pulled together some last minute plans Friday evening. It was all set. They were picking us up Saturday and we were gonna get outa Dodge for the night. Sadly, the next morning, she called to let me know that she had put out her back and was unable to join us. Poor thing. Luckily, Pete and I were able to rent a car last minute and it was an easy half hour drive to the other side of the bay. Our little Hyundai Getz climbed us up the mountain and got us to the parking lot of the Rimutaka Forest Park.
It was an easy 2 hour hike in and it was gorgeous; lots of bridges crossing over streams, lush forests, and bird songs. The last stretch of the day had us removing our boots and braving the chilly waters of the Rimutaka river to reach our hut which was nestled in the mountains on the other side. Luckily we had packed our camping booties, which came to great use. Friends – if you don’t already have these, you MUST! They’re the single best luxury to have at a campsite – hands down. Well… That and red wine, of course ;)
The hut – Jans Hut – was perfect, and we had it all to ourselves. It had everything we needed (which literally was everything since we left all of our camping gear back in Toronto) and it was super cozy. Pete made a yummy meal and we just relaxed and enjoyed the warmth of the fire.
The next morning we chilled with a cuppa coffee and read our books for a while before jumping out of our sleeping bags and gathering up our gear. We had planned to take a different route out of the park and anticipated that it would take us about 2-3 hours to complete. Well, not only did it take over 4 ½ hours but it was a steady incline for most of the way!! My legs were shaking by the end of it (though I’m not entirely sure if that demonstrates the steepness of the mountain or my extreme lack of fitness!)
The high altitudes did allow for some spectacular views and we took a breather at the top to soak it all in. I wish we could always have an outdoor playground with cozy huts, beautiful rivers, and bird symphonies right at our doorstep!