In the high rise, concrete world of Singapore I began to feel dead inside. It is a city catering well to the bottom two tiers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (you are safe, warm, fed) but the tip of self actualisation seems far from possible. I desperately missed the scale, unpredictability, and power of the untamed world. Mother nature’s call was getting louder, and I could not stay away from the trails of the world.
Clambering up Merchant Ridge, Alpha hut seemed to be unreachable. My desires had been simplified. Not a thought for a dinner out, a new computer, or even the ever more expensive housing market. All I needed was shelter and warmth. Life was as our ancestors had lived.
All night we sat stoking the fire, cuddling in front of it’s warmth. More entrancing and addictive than the latest episode of Game of Thrones. The power of fire was evident, I innately knew the importance of this tool to human survival and evolution.
Although cold, and kept awake by the howling wind, my mind was finally at ease. Was Maslow really right? Maybe all I need to be happy is to have to simplify life down to survival.
The Tararua forest park has the most elusive track in my family history – the Southern crossing over Mt Hector. My father and uncle attempted this in their 20s only to turn back, and the curse appears to be continuing.
Our route was altered last minute due to NE gale winds and a road slip, but was still a tough climb up Marchant Ridge Track to Alpha hut. The next day we descended via Bull Mound Track and returned to the carpark at Kaitoke via a brief river crossing and the Dobson loop track.
The park has stunning views of the tip of the South Island from the mountain tops and ridge lines. Huts in this region are less luxurious than up north, representing the hardy Wellingtonian spirit. Expect to collect your own firewood and be cold in May.
Length: Day 1 – 16km; Day 2 – 18km ish
Duration: 1 night
Difficulty: Couldn’t wait to get back to the car…
More about Alpha Hut.
Originally published over at www.fastpackjournal.com
Tararua Forest Park, often called the Tararuas is a protected area in the Wellington region of New Zealand. Its area is 116,535 ha (around 450 mi2), and its highest point, a peak called Mitre, is at 1571 m above sea level. It was established in 1954, as New Zealand’s first Forest Park, and is managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) under the Conservation Act. Tararua Forest Park includes more than three-quarters of the Tararua Range, and its boundaries extend north from New Zealand State Highway 2. – Wikipedia.