Many people told me that coming back to the place you left after a journey like mine would be hard. I didn’t really believe them—I love Montana, and my tribe there. But they were right. I left a life in New Zealand: friends of the soul kind, interesting work, endless adventures, mountains that imprinted their ridge lines on my heart. I grieved for leaving it, wondered how I could ever be as happy or fulfilled again.
I passed a marker the other day. Not a marker on a trail or a road, but a marker in my mind. I have more time behind me now than I have in front of me on this journey. Continue reading
This is the story of the best hut trip in New Zealand. The best because of the adventure, the beauty, the little shack itself, and most importantly, the expedition crew. This is the story of the Barker hut.
I saw a photo of the Brewster hut on the wall of the sleepy Makarora DOC office when my friend Ellyse and I stopped for intel on the Gillespie Circuit. The picture of the little red shack perched on a plateau beneath peaks and glaciers stole my heart, and I pledged to make that my home for a night or two after finishing the Gillespie.
The Stafford Hut was a series of last-minute decisions, a series of surprises. And it was completely different from the alpine huts that have stolen my heart in these last months. All of these add up to earn this little seaside shack a slot in my top five New Zealand huts.
In this case, “dirtbags” refers to trampers, hitchhikers, and people who live in their cars (who have also very likely lived under the previous two labels) traveling in New Zealand for any length of time.
For those wondering about what it’s like in these backcountry hostels that dot New Zealand’s landscape: look no further.