Rain hit the window of the hut right next to where I lay. The wind seemed to be on some sort of irregular timer, like a set of traffic lights turning green then red. We would be going nowhere today. Merry Christmas, I said to my companions.
The power of three coffees flowed through my veins before I ate the largest breakfast I’d seen in many days. It was Christmas and I intended to feast. Prior to heading into these mountains I’d prepared myself for the possibility of being stuck and bought extra food, so had almost everyone else. New Zealand mountain weather is a great teacher of patience for those willing to learn.
The fire was started early and we were all warm and dry. A most unusual way to spend Christmas and as a result not one we would quickly forget. To make the hut more Christmasy, we constructed a Christmas tree from firewood, some headlamps for lights and smelly socks. I didn’t look pretty but it’s the best we could do. Humour and moral was high.
Christmas lunch was freeze dried Lasagna followed by a dessert of apricot crumble. Thank you to Ross for the kind Christmas present, the meal warmed me even more.
There was no cell phone service in the hut but a 10 minute walk up the mountain in the rain and wind was enough to check the latest weather and answer the Christmas messages. But the hut was warm and dry when I returned. After time in the fresh air the hut smelled of unwashed humans and stale socks and underwear. When we do make it out of here the nearest shower and laundry will be a welcome sight. But will we be forced to stay longer or will the weather allow us to leave.
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