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Boo Boo Hut

Boo Boo Hut

(Boo Boo Hut: Photo Andrew Buglass 2015)

Maintenance status

Boo Boo Hut is a DOC minimal maintenance structure. The Boo Boo and Pinnacle Biv tracks and the tracked and sections on the upper valley route to Crawford Junction Hut have been maintained by volunteers for a considerable time now. the.

Location

Kokatahi catchment. Map BV19. GPS Ref: E1452973/ N5245567 (BV19 530 456). Altitude 594m. Boo Boo Hut is located in the rata belt on the bush faces above the TL of the Kokatahi valley. Boo Boo's name originates from a cocked-up food drop in the 1950's at a deer culler's camp at the site where the Hut would later be built. Apparently the entire supply of tinned cheddar for all the camps in the Kokatahi, plus the district's allocation of 128 tins of raspberry jam, were mistakenly air-dropped there. Visitation to the Hut dropped off in the 1990's and 2000's due to deteriorating track conditions. It is starting to get a bit more traffic now the word is out that the tracks in the lower Kokatahi are being looked after again. It received 27 visits in 2018. Boo Boo's sunny aspect and woodburner make it a great year-round overnight trip. It's also used as a stopover on journeys further up the valley, or an increasingly popular Toaroha Range traverse via Pinnacle Biv.

Boo Boo location

Access

Access to the start of the Boo Boo route is up a farm trail that turns off the Toaroha valley access road just before the Kokatahi Bridge. The landowner Terry Sheridan needs to be contacted before crossing his land. The farm track peters out just before the site of an old cableway at a bend in the Kokatahi River. The River is followed from here for 15 minutes to a large grassy flat further upstream. A track enters the bush at the top of the flat and follows the TR of the Kokatahi to the Whakarira Gorge. The view of the Gorge from the bridge is stunning and worth a visit in its own right. Flood debris is occasionally found jammed under the bridge and gives an indication of how high the River can get after heavy rain. The track sidles above the TL of the gorge from the bridge, then drops back to the riverbed at Adamson Creek. There is a 200m stretch of river travel before the track re-enters the bush and climb/ sidles up the bush faces to the Hut. A fit party should be able to get from the track start to Boo Boo in 3.5 to 4 hours. The tracked sections of the route were checked and trimmed in February 2020.

A clearing at the Pinnacle Biv turnoff five minutes before the Hut provides helicopter access.

Type

Boo Boo Hut was in the first batch of NZFS 4-bunk S81 designs built in 1959. The original structure had an open fire and perspex windows. A woodshed and covered porch were added and the Hut lined in the early 1980's when Lands and Survey were looking after the valley. The fireplace was removed and replaced with a Little Cracker wood burner in 2012. There is a toilet and water is from the creek next to the Hut.

Condition

Boo Boo had some of its joists bearers and piles replaced at some point, but still has a pretty wonky uneven floor. In 2004 DOC repainted the Hut and cleared a bit of the scrub around it. In 2012 more exterior painting was done, the clearlite on the roof replaced, and the woodburner installed. The Hut is super cosy now with the burner going, although the lever on the ash tray door is angled and tends to jam. A broken latch on the North window was replaced in 2017, but there needs to be one on the other side as well to secure the window properly. The sill beneath is rotting and will need replacing at some point. There is a small leak in the centre of the porch roof where the studs meet and a rust patch on the external wall above where the porch meets it. The external iron cladding on the South end is streaked with red algae. There may be a small roof leak around the flue as there was a damp patch on the woodburner last time we visited. There was light rain during the visit but no water came in then. Some of the regenerating bush on the NE side of the hut site was cut back recently, but more needs to go.

Routes

Official maintenance of the route from Boo Boo to Crawford Junction Hut ceased sometime in the 1980's. In the ensuing years this part of the valley achieved considerable notoriety for its roughness, with accounts aplenty of epic trips in the Boo Boo and Crawford Junction hutbooks. Permolat volunteers re-opened the track from Boo Boo to the Twins 3-wire in 2005, and since then regular work has been done on it. The last section from the 3-wire to Crawford Junction is primarily river travel with a number of bush detours around bluffs and large boulders. These bits were first recut in November 2017, and have been checked regularly since then. There are many actively unstable sections in mid Kokatahi, exacerbated by increasingly frequent heavy rain events.

The track starts at the creek next to Boo Boo Hut and sidles across the bush faces for a half hour or so to some dry rocks. The larger and more weatherproof of these is 20m uphill from the track, but unfortunately there is no convenient water supply. The track descends from here in a series of steps back down towards the River. A steep eroding gut around the 400m contour provides access down into Pinnacle Creek. Cairns and cruise tape lead up the Creek a short distance, then exit on the TR and head up and over a narrow, actively eroding rib into Alice Creek. Cross Alice Creek and head up the ridge between Alice and Meharry creeks. The track crosses Meharry Creek onto the terrace and a clearing where Twins hut used to be, then drops steeply down to the River to the three-wire.

The TR section above the three-wire is mostly river travel, rough with large boulders and areas of active slippage. There are a number of short bush detours to negotiate bluffs and larger boulders, all of which were checked and trimmed in February 2020. Above Blue Duck Creek the valley opens out and it is easy travel across the river flats to the Crawford River. The Crawford is currently running in braids opposite Crawford Junction Hut is easy to ford at normal flows. This route should not be attempted when rivers are running high. Allow 3.5-4.5 hours to get up to Crawford Junction Hut from Boo Boo.

The Pinnacle Biv track starts at the top of the helipad, five minutes downvalley from Boo Boo Hut. It is well-marked but starting to overgrow in places, particularly the sub-alpine zone where flax and toi toi are starting to crowd the track. The trackline follows the TL of a small creek initially, then heads straight up the montane faces eventually connecting with a broad spur at the tussock line. Poles and cruise-tape lead from here through the tussock and a couple of bands of scrub towards point 1085m. The route sidles east just below point 1085m and crosses a scrubby gully onto a rib with exposed bare rock. The route continues up this rib, over point 1085m, drops into a dip then climbs the last section through another band of alpine scrub towards Crinkletop. Allow around three hours from Boo Boo to Pinnacle Biv currently, or 6-8 from the roadend.

When dropping from Pinnacle Biv down to Boo Boo Hut make sure you don't continue down the exposed rock rib East of point 1085m. The trail drops off the rib around E1452037/ N5244963 (BV19 520 450) and sidles North across a scrubby face to another open area. More than one party continued straight down the rib into the Kokatahi. The top entrance of the track proper is also a bit vague currently. It's at GPS E1452097/ N5245430.

Repairs needed

Some of the Hut's floorboards may need replacing in the medium-term and the floor levelled. This is unlikely to happen if DOC is still committed to a longer-term replacement plan. The inner western windowsill needs replacing and another fastener latch attached on the right of the frame. The rust patch above the porch needs attention, and more of the regenerating bush around the Hut needs clearing back. The external end wall needs a good scrub, and the flue leak checked out during heavy rain. There is a small tube of sealant in the Hut.

Provisions on site

A coal bucket, two brooms, a hearth brush, a fry pan, a medium-sized pot, a billy, two cups, a dish brush, a mouse trap, a plastic basin, a plastic bucket, a bowsaw, a shovel, a container of assorted and small flat-head nails, two axes, a grubber, a phillips screwdriver, and 2 small tubes of sealant.