“OMG, you would not believe what happened to me when I stuck out my thumb to catch a hitch to the start of the Hacket Track” was American Katie’s elevator pitch to us as part of the first introductions, after she arrived at Hacket Hut, dumped her pack, and sat on the floor – red as a beetroot (or is that root beet in the US language?)

We had been dropped off at the same spot only hours early by Cameron (our son) who was then going onto Nelson for a mate catch up.  We’d driven through from Murchison to St Arnaud and parked up the third bedroom for its holiday without us.  For nine or ten days.

Hacket picnic area car park drop off.

Our initial simultaneous reaction was to think Cameron had picked her up.  He was going to head south again after the mate catch up.


Instead, it was Katies old boyfriend and his new girlfriend!

Hitching is a gamble, and a lift is a lift when one is betting on a pickup.   What were the possibilities? Didn’t matter, she was in good company now to share our hut this Christmas Eve.

As we got to know her over the next couple of days shared on the trail, we often reflected how cool it would have been if it had of been Cameron that had given her the lift, as Katie’s character and persona were so much in tune with his – “No point in mowing lawns as every overgrown weed flower feed bee’s.”  Yup!

Hacket Hut was approx. 7 km from our drop off.  It was just enough to fall in love with the weights of the packs, get into a stepping rhythm, adjust the weights of the packs, be teased by some up-hill gradient, discuss what we can lose to reduce the weight of the packs, be excited to reach the first hut, scramble to dismount the packs too when we arrived.

Possibly looking like beet root as well as it was mighty hot temperature wise.  Tis always good to start out how you mean to go on, sweaty and sunblock/insect repellent grimy.  The splash of water in the nearby stream freshened and cooled us off.

Lying on the hut bunk looking at the roof, sticking plaster had been affixed to the apex which had us wondering WTF?

It wasn’t until a frantic wasp appeared at the window on the inside of the hut wanting to escape that it had become apparent.  No sooner had I let the thing out, another appeared.  Then another.  There was a wasp nest in the roof of the hut and a hole further along from the plasters was their escape route.  Except into the bloody hut instead of out.

Not only was there indecision as to who should be brave enough to clamber up to the heights and stuff another sticky over – arrrrr, no one; there was further chit chat about whether to have the hut windows open or closed.

Let the wasps out.  Or the damn sandflies in!

We gambled to keep letting the wasps out knowing that when the sunset shade appears, wasps too go to sleep.

All those sandflies do, is turn into ruddy mosquitos.

And those mongrels most certainly do leave love bite beet root marks.

Or for Katies benefit – root beet.

Hacket Hut