A most successful Field Hut work party
31 Oct – 2 Nov 2008
The forecast for Saturday was for heavy afternoon rain. So we tramped up to Field on Friday night, arriving at 10 pm. We admired DOC’s new iron bridge across the Waiotauru River at Otaki Forks, and the new track along the old farm road. It has the disadvantage, though, of being significantly longer, but gives nice views of the Forks.
The bad late-July storm had bowled three large trees beside the hut, as well as many along the track as far back as Puketiro. This allows much more light in, and as well gives views of Kapakapanui and the Waiotauru Valley. DOC has cut up some trees for parties to split for firewood.
Next morning it was overcast, and we cleaned the tanks, spouting and outside walls of the hut. Plastic leaf guards were fitted to the spouting to reduce leaf build-up. Mike and Richard split wood for the wood-burner, which now has a new fitting fire-door. Richard cleaned ditches. After lunch the rain poured down, and we concentrated on cleaning inside. Leaks were identified, especially in the two window fire-escapes.
Surprisingly two parties, one a couple, and four Duke of Edinburgh students and a minder from Palmerston North, arrived during the downpour, and stayed overnight. Some overpainting of graffiti took place. There seemed less than previously. Diane lit the wood-burner with wet wood, which took some time. But it was greatly appreciated.
We prepared dinner, and iced Field’s 84th Birthday Cake. We sang “Happy Birthday Field Hut”, and then passed pieces of the cake around. There was also some bubbly. The big rat trap was set, and we all went to sleep.
Next morning it was fine, and the sun shone. A big healthy rat had been caught by the trap and was duly buried. Cleaning work continued on the hut, gutters and toilet. Diane did a great job cleaning the toilet vent. Richard oversaw digging ditches in front of the hut to drain the water. Cleaning the outside of the hut continued. I cleaned and painted the loft floor. I managed to undercoat half of it before it was time for lunch and departure. Painting the floor makes the loft much more pleasant.
We were back in Wellington by 6 pm after a very successful work party to celebrate Field’s 84th birthday. Thanks to party members.