Christmas Eve with a Park Warden 

Day 25 – Fiordland National Park – Kepler Treck Day 3, New Zealand 

Today is Christmas eve and it is plus 20 with sun and a few scattered clouds. While some of you may be huddled around a fire, I completed 16 km of the Kepler treck which rounded out day 3. The walk today was pretty uneventful, mainly traveling through the Iris Burn valley in the forest, along the Iris Burn river and out around Lake Manapouri. 

Moturau hut is situated next to a beach on Lake Manapouri and was gorgeous to enjoy after a day’s worth of hiking. For dinner a bunch of us sat on a picinic table and scrounged up our remaining food. I had those gross raman noddles with like a billion artificial chemcials but they are so light in my pack! I was dreaming at that moment about the bortsh and mushroom tortillini my step mom makes for christmas eve, sad face. 

Our hut warden was the best! Words cannot describe how delightful this little old guy was. After dinner we had our hut talk, a nightly talk put on by each hut warden which goes over saftey procedures and the weather next day and if your lucky they will tell stories and history about the region. Our warden did this on the grass outside the hut and regailed us with tails of the “Save Lake Manapouri” capaign in the 1970s. Click here to read the details. 

After the hut talk a bunch of us were working on a puzzel and the warden was showing pictures of sun sets and kiwi’s and everything he was so proud of about his country (well he was born in the UK but has been in New Zealand for 48 years). As the sun set, one of the hikers who’s italian was asking if anyone had wine or beer to share and celebrate christmas eve with. The warden pulled her aside and said he had a few ciders in his warden’s hut and if a few of us wanted to come over he’d be happy to share. Myself along with 3 others went over and spent till midnight chatting about world politics and christmas’ past while enjoying a local brew. Definately a christmas eve to remember. 

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