Back at the hut, it was time to stoke up that log burner, hang up the soggy boots, and dangle crispy socks from the drying rack. Odour wise, you have to have quite a strong constitution when it comes to long distance hiking. It’s often you have to sleep in a small room full of sweaty strangers and their ‘well used’ footwear, and cheesey feet! But once your used to it, there’s something homely and ‘safe’ feeling about sitting around a wood burner amongst the jumble of steaming clothes… All warm and snoozey in your dry socks and duvet-jacket. Mmmm.
But before any of that can happen, there be trees to chop! Branches and kindling to scavenge from the woods, and axe wielding to be done. Today I got a chance to do the axe-ing, and swing the weighty metal chunk about my shoulders, sending it plunging down with biblical force to smas…. Oh… ( It just makes a tiny dint in the branch ). Clearly this is going to take some time…
Many minutes later Cookie comes to investigate and sees I’ve managed to remove almost all the bark from one side of the branch, reducing it’s width by half with the force of innumerable blunt impacts along it’s length.
“It’s not going that well is it Nicky”… Haha!
“I’d be better off cutting it with my sodding pen knife than this blunt brick of an axe!”, I retorted. “Hmmm”.
“That’s it! Pioneer spirit! Yeh! We gotta a pioneer woman here.” Chipped in an elderly American, come to watch the show. I can’t publish my response to that – but in any case that might have been just the irritating patronisation I needed to brew up some tree-splitting force…
But soon stubbornness prevailed, and a stack of branches was reduced down to a neat-ish pile of ‘wooden chunks’, ready and waiting to light up our little cabin for the evening. Phewey. Imagine chopping down a giant Kauri tree back in the old days… Hardcore.