I was talking of graffiti in the High Arctic and its relation to history, exploration, etc.
So back home to New Zealand.
I was doing a solo tramp not too many years ago in the Harper/Avoca area of inland Canterbury and was about to bypass the earthquake damaged Triangle hut (1994 Arthur's Pass quake) when memories of a visit there as a nine year old lad with my Dad whilst we were visiting my big brother who was working for the NZFS as a fencing contractor with a couple of other chaps (we got up to the Avoca River in the old 1929 Austin written up in a previous blog). I dropped my pack and wandered over to the hut with my camera. Again a hut with history etched into its walls. Just as I was about to depart I noticed a bright area high on a wall lit by a reflection through what was left of the window. Investigating the spot closer, there was my brother's name along with his fencing mates. I did photograph it but can't access the slides at present (more earthquake shite - not living in my house whilst being repaired). A great find thanks to a shaft of light directing me to it. Warm memories of one of my first tramps - and of some early tramps and climbs in the mountains with my big brother.
But here is my issue - with myself! The hut above is the new Hawdon hut as it was a few years ago, several months after it was rebuilt by DOC after a fire destroyed the previous hut. We tramped up the the valley in the late afternoon, past the old hut site and on for 20 minutes to a clearing at a turn in the river. I literally stopped in my tracks as I saw this brand new hut - a grand edifice far removed from the style of yesteryear. On entering and looking around before even dropping my pack, I commented to my tramping mate Graeme.
"What do you notice?' I said.
"It still smells new" he replied.
"There is no graffiti at all - yet" I responded.
And there wasn't - nothing at all. Impressive considering the number of people who had already visited in the few months since it had been open, including a number of school groups.
And somehow, graffiti does not seem appropriate in this new hut. I was relieved that the walls were bare, but I can't quite explain why I no longer want to see history continue in new huts as it has for well over a century in high country huts. I'm baffled - with myself.
Maybe I need to go walkabout in the hills again to cogitate this matter!!
But wait, there's more on this graffiti subject - tune in again soon.