By Neve Hopman, 25 August 2022
Feeling claustrophobic and stagnant in Wellington, Sav and I had long talked of a Silver Peaks mission, and mid sem 2 it finally came into fruition.
Sav (an ex dunedin local) and myself (whose ex is a dunedin local) had high hopes for a large gathering of old friends to trek the trail with, but when the day came we set out just the two of us. We were on a mission to reclaim the crags, Sav having been to Jubilee hut as a youngster, and me having done the loop with a hoard of OUTC hooligans the previous summer. We expected a bonding experience, but little did we know just how close we would get. First stop was the old Possum Hut, a real hardcore shack with a tarp for a roof and net for windows. It was quite charming really. Up until this point our walking had been quite regular, but as I’m sure any OUTC member, or Dunedin tramper can attest, there’s just something in the cold, windless, Otago air that makes you want to get nude.
Both half joking (but fully kind of serious) we laughed about walking with nothing on but our packs and our boots, and so this is exactly what we did. It was liberating, aerating, brilliant. All was well, until we heard a voice and had to run off track and frantically throw on whatever clothes were at the top of our packs for some sort of cover. The voice turned out to be a hallucination of some sort, because nobody ever appeared. We decided it was probably best to remain in our half dressed hotchpotch states for the rest of the walk anyway though, for fear of public indecency on a decently popular track. Our brief encounter with nature's best tramping was delightful, catch us maybe at a nudist colony sometime soon.
We ambled along the ridge, stopping at Pulpit Rock to recreate photos before descending the Devils Staircase, where there were, disappointingly, no devils, nor stairs. At the bottom there was however, a lovely stream valley, absolutely torn up by boar rooting. Busting to get naked again we decided - undeterred by the boars, freezing temperatures, and shallow water - that it was time for a swim. It was painful, but worth it, always worth it.
From there we trotted up the valley, through some severe mud thanks to the lurking boars. At one point we heard some rumbling, and Sav held tight to her knife and her whistle until we reached the hut, which we had to ourselves. We cooked up our kai, read, listened to Savs wind up radio, considered the probability of a boar climbing the stairs and breaking into the hut and attacking us in our beds, then went to sleep.
We had talked about a pre sunrise start, and a breakfast on the top of the hill, but this did not happen. We slept through sunrise and had a regular breakfast in the hut. Despite this, the weather was on our side, winter seemed to have forgotten to show up and we had a cloudless day for trotting over the tops. Stopping for a bagel at ABC Cave and lunch at Phillip J Cox Memorial Hut, where we read many copies of ‘Antics’ (the OUTC version of Heels). It was here, inspired by their explicitness, that we decided it was only right that we write a trip report for this mission in order to improve the nudist representation in Heels.
The rest of our trip went off without a hitch, not even one from the road end as we got out perfectly in time, minutes before our ride pulled up. We returned to Sav’s brothers house for a shower then, as it was a friday night, hit Dunedin town (for a kebab).