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(Boo Boo Hut: Photo Andrew Buglass 2015)
Boo Boo Hut at last report was to be minimally maintained, then replaced
at the end of its life with a structure located midway between its current site and Pinnacle Biv.
The Boo Boo and Pinnacle Biv tracks were
recently removed from DOC's maintain list, so I'd say that this outcome is probably less of a certainty now.
In the meantime the Permolat Group has taken over the maintenance of these two tracks.
Kokatahi catchment. Map
GPS Ref: E1452973/
Altitude 594m. Boo Boo Hut is located
in the rata belt on the bush faces above the TL of the lower Kokatahi valley.
Its name originates from a cocked-up food drop
at a deer culler's camp here in the early 1950's.
Apparently the entire supply of tinned cheddar
for the camps in the Kokatahi, plus the district's allocation of 128 tins
of raspberry jam, were mistakenly
air-dropped there. Boo Boo Hut is starting to get a bit more traffic now the word is out that
the track is being looked after. It received 15 visits in 2015, and had already reached this total by this June.
sunny aspect and woodburner make it a great year-round overnight option.
Head up the padlocked farm trail that turns off the Toaroha valley access road just before the Kokatahi Bridge.
Terry Sheridan is the farmer who it pays to talk to about access. Follow the trail through the paddocks
to the River, then boulderhop to a larger grassy flats further upstream. The track
enters the bush at the top of this and follows the TR of the Kokatahi
to the Whakarira Gorge.
The view of the Gorge from the bridge is stunning and well worth a visit in its own right.
Debris was found found on the hand
rail in 2011 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. Follow the riverbed for 200m stretch then
re-enter the bush. The track climb/ sidles from here up and around the bush faces to the Hut.
There are a few steep bits, but most of it
is a fairly steady affair. Allow 3-4 hours currently to get from the roadend to Boo Boo.
I took the brush bar up there in March 2017, so the track is now in the best shape it's been in for a few years.
A small clearing at the Pinnacle Biv turnoff, five
minutes before the Hut, provides helicopter access.
Boo Boo Hut was in the first batch of NZFS 4-bunk S81 designs that were built in 1959.
The original structure had an open fire and perspex windows.
A woodshed and covered porch were added and the Hut and lined in the early 1980's during Lands And Survey's tenure of 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 small creek
next to the Hut.
Boo Boo had some of its joists bearers and piles
replaced at some point, I'm not sure when. In 2004 DOC repainted the Hut
and cleared a bit of the scrub around it. More scrub was cleared in 2016'
In 2012 more exterior painting was done, the clearlite
on the roof was replaced, and the woodburner installed. The Hut is super cosy now with the burner going.
Some of the regenerating bush on the NE side of the hut site was cut back. The Hut
floor remains uneven despite the repiling work and bearer replacement.
The window latch has broken on the one window that opens. It has been fastened shut with string and it pays
not to open it.
The sill is rotting on the burner side.
There is a small leak in the centre of the porch roof where the studs meet. The
external iron cladding on the South end is streaked with algae.
Official maintenance of the
track from Boo Boo to Crawford Junction Hut
ceased sometime in the 1980's. In the ensuing years the route
achieved considerable notoriety among trampers, and accounts of
their trials from then up until the early 2000's can be found 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 it was last cut and marked in July 2015.
It's rough and rudimentary,
but shouldn't be a problem for experienced types.
From Boo Boo Hut the track sidles across the bush faces well above the Kokatahi for a half hour to
some dry rocks. The larger and more weatherproof of these
are 20m uphill from the track, but unfortunately there is no good water supply here.
The track then descends in a series of steps, angling towards the River. A
steep gut around the 400m contour (Grid Ref: E1453517/ N5244218)
provides access down into Pinnacle Creek. A few bits of track have been cut around
in the scrub on the more exposed sections near the top of the gut.
Once in Pinnacle Creek, follow the cairns upstream for around 150 metres, then
exit on the TR and head up over a narrow eroding rib into Alice Creek.
The track goes up the TL of Alice Creek for a couple of hundred metres, crosses and
climbs up onto the ridge between Alice and Meharry creeks. It follows the ridge up a bit then crosses Meharry Creek
and up a steep bank onto the terrace and the clearing where the Twins hut site was.
The track drops steeply from here down to the three-wire. Allow 1.5-2.5 hours currently
from Boo Boo to the old Twins hutsite.
Once the three-wire is crossed it is mostly river travel staying on the TR, all the way up
to Crawford Junction. The odd short excursion into the bush is necessary to
negotiate boulders or small bluffs. The Crawford River can usually be forded
directly opposite Crawford Junction Hut at normal flows.
A swingbridge at the foot of Whitehorn Spur was removed in 2012, so
the Boo Boo - Crawford Junction route is restricted to fine weather and low or normal river flows.
Allow 2.5-3 hours from the Twins three-wire to Crawford Junction.
The Pinnacle Biv track starts at the top of the helipad,
five minutes downvalley from Boo Boo Hut (GPS Ref: E1452973/ N5245567). It
is not marked on the latest topo map edition, but is
well cut and permolatted to around the 830m contour and is easy going.
The section above this has had work done on it by various Permolat people from November 2015 through to June 2016. It is marked
with a combination of Permolat and cruise tape lower down, and just cruise tape higher up. There is still
a fair bit of astelia and flax crowding the track in places in the sub-alpine and alpine zones, but
the bigger stuff has been cleared back now, and the passage is relatively easy.
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 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 and sidles North across a scrubby gully.
More than one party has missed the turn which is marked on a pole and continued down into the Kokatahi.
The window latch needs refastening, and the sill replaced.
Some of the Hut's floorboards may need replacing in the medium-term and the floor leveled.
This is unlikely to happen if DOC is still committed to the longer-term replacement
plan. The inner western windowsill needs replacing. More of the regenerating bush
around the Hut needs clearing back. The external end wall needs a good scrub.
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, and a small tube of sealant.