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Macaulay Valley Vehicle Recovery: August 17-18, 2022

Rescue coordinated by Keith Milne

Keith answered a call for help from a friend of his who had been staying at the Macaulay Hut three weeks earlier. Following an overnight storm, Keith’s friend woke to find a metre of snow on the valley floor around the Hut making it impossible to drive out. He was fortunate enough to have an InReach device with him and managed to arrange a private ride out in a helicopter after a day or two of ‘cabin-fever’ stuck in the hut. Luckily the Macaulay hut is a magnificent hut with lighting, gas cooker, wood burner with an oven and 14 beds! The best place to be stuck!

Keith and Kevin met Keith’s friend in Tekapo and were joined by a couple of hunters and a local trustee of the Mackenzie Trust that owns the Hut. After loading up with firewood 5 vehicles headed back up the Macaulay Valley to the Hut. The trip in was slow as we had to pick a new route over rocky terrain. Mother nature had yet again demonstrated her landscaping abilities and she clearly has no respect for 4WD tracks!

We arrived at about 3.00pm and Keith’s friend was happily reunited with his modified Ford Everest and then set the standard for showing appreciation for a vehicle rescue. He produced from his truck a generator and an air fryer, and then made fresh hot Lemonade Scones! Those were the best scones you’ll ever get at Macaulay Hut! Not finished, he then insisted on cooking a magnificent pork roast dinner for all of us using the Hut’s wood burner oven, the wood burner top and the air fryer to finish off the crackling!

The scenery around the Hut was stunning and the following morning a brief walk took us to a tarn in various stages of being iced over. While the ice looked strong enough in parts to hold a person, the ominous loud cracking sounds was an effective deterrent. Overall, an uneventful trip from a driving perspective, but the scenery was amazing and well worth a trip in, especially with snow on the mountains.

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