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July 2014 Issue
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Magic destination

Early season snow covers the Paparoa Range and Ces Clark Hut
Ces Clark Hut, 16 bunks
Take Roa Rd from Blackball, turning right at the Croesus Track signpost. Car park at end


Ces Clark Hut, Roaring Meg Ecological Area, West Coast

It was a dark and stormy weekend. A group of friends were eager to head into the hills. Somewhere everyone could enjoy, where there were no rapidly rising rivers to worry about, where there was a warm, comfy shelter with plenty of space. Somewhere to trudge to through heaving bursts of torrential rain and plummeting temperatures and then hole up, light the fire and revel in the wildness outside the window.

There is a perfect candidate in Blackball, following an old benched miner’s track to just clear of the bush line, to a wonderful refuge perched above the Grey Valley overlooking the Southern Alps.

The Croesus Track is a classic and Ces Clark Hut scores the trifecta of easy access, warm comfort and stunning outlook. An ideal spot to defy the elements and say ‘Send it down, Huey!’.

Being an easy walk, there was plenty of wine, cheese, salami, whiskey, and other treats. The roaring coal burner had the interior of the hut approaching sauna temperature.

I awoke early and gathering my camera gear, crept out of the bunkroom. Outside the hut was a winter wonderland. Overnight, the rain had turned to snow and the landscape was blanketed in pristine white. I spun on my heels, flung the door wide, and cried: “No more sleeping! It snowed! Get up, get up, let’s go out and play!”

Sometimes you needn’t go far to find magic.

– Jason Blair