Back to the Wild  Family Dinner at Pinchgut Hut

Is your family dinner night getting a bit stale? Sonia Barrish gets creative by hosting family dinner at a backcountry hut. Travelling with five adults and a baby, this crew has an overnight adventure at Pinchgut Hut.

Mum invited us out to dinner for Friday night at her place… hmm, I have a better idea I suggested – why not dinner at a DOC hut?!

Mum agreed, brother & mum in law wanted to come too, and so a plan was hatched to head out to Pinchgut Hut after lunch on Friday. That would give us enough time to get there before baby’s dinner time!

Thursday evening we packed, as we had work Friday morning, and the moment Bethany came round the corner, and saw we had pulled the tramping carrier out, her eyes lit up! She squealed with excitement, and clapped her hands! Then proceeded to try climb into the carrier on her own, saying “up up walkies yes pwease!!”. So instead we had to carry Bethany around in the carrier to the neighbour’s house & back a few times! Needless to say, we got NO packing done till she was in bed – and she was WAY too excited to sleep after seeing the carrier!

So Friday morning, we eventually managed to leave the house. Trying to organise 5 adults & a baby always takes longer than expected! But we were on the road within an hour of the planned departure time – so I suppose that’s a win!

As we were driving to the start of the trail, there was a ford… no one mentioned this was a 4WD road… but suddenly there was a ford… with some pretty large rocks… and we have a Mazda Premacy… great… so jumped out, tried to find the best way to get through… well… threw some rocks out of the way – and then hubby went for it… some thuds, but we were on the other side – phew!!

Then came another ford… this one not as bad – and super bumpy gravel road! Argh!!

We did eventually make it to the track start – ignoring the fact that we would have to return along the same road…

The track started with a river crossing – well, it was easily crossable, but it did get my short shorts wet! Bethany thought it was hilarious! Up there all nice & dry, just watching us & laughing!

Once we got over & into the bush, there was so many blackberries to be foraged! So we picked them as we went – Bethany not even wanting to let me put a single one into my mouth – they all had to go into hers apparently!

Soon enough, we were out of the blackberry patches, and it started getting a bit too close to dinner time for Bethany, and that’s when I pulled out the crackers – and by the end of the trip Bethany had a new word!

The crackers were a hit, and got us to the hut for quarter past 6 – where we then set up all the canapes we had brought, and Bethany went crazy exploring all the tomatoes, olives, hummus, and more crackers on the table! Overnight hiking means you can have a bit more luxury than the multi-day stuff we’re used to!

In the morning, mum, brother and I were keen to get a geocache up the top of the hill – so we left around 7.30 in the morning, so that we could be back at a reasonable hour. No time for coffee, but I find running up a hill is a pretty good way to wake yourself up too!

We scoffed down some food, and left hubby & ouma in charge of the baby – and the coffee making, because the smell of coffee does make me happy!

Far out… the Cattle Peak Route is steep. Very steep. Even though I should have been flying as I didn’t have a baby on my back, it was still one heck of a climb. And once we got to the top, it still took forever to find the geocache! There was heaps of sign of deer around. And of hunters. And the geocache hadn’t actually been found in almost 5 years! So I was pretty stoked when we did eventually find it after almost half an hour! Then running back down to the hut only took about 10 mins!

Bethany meanwhile had been exploring the hut, exploring outside, and seeing all the nature that was to be seen!

And on the walk back also she had so much fun pointing out everything she saw, all the colour, the trees, the mushrooms, and of course saying “ejjo!” to all the people walking in the other direction!

We arrived back home, with our entire afternoon then still free – what a perfect – but exhausting – way to start the weekend off! And given how many people were walking towards the hut on our way out, I’m pretty glad we stayed on a Friday, as otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten a bunk!

FMC thanks Sonia Barrish for her permission to reproduce this article, first published on her Back to the Wild blog.  Sonia makes and sells a range of home-made ointments, rubs and products such as insect repellent which are non-toxic and baby friendly.  

This resource is part of FMC’s Outdoor Community campaign, celebrating and encouraging Family Tramping. Check out the other articles on Family Tramping here on Wilderlife. If you’ve got stories, tips or encouragement that you’re willing to share, please get in touch.

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