This Friday I’m hosting an amazing picture of Mueller’s Hut on Mount Cook taken by Shannon Ullman from Lives Abroad Blog.
Shannon is a writer and traveller who has been living a fully nomadic life for the past three years. She has backpacked through Europe, lived out of a van in New Zealand, called a bungalow in Bali home and taught English in Asia. To learn more about her on Facebook and Instagram.
Photo Story: Mueller’s Hut, Mount Cook
I climbed up a mountain at Mt. Cook National Park in New Zealand and to be honest, I really didn’t like it. In fact, I cried on both the way up and down. I know, I know; by the looks of the picture, it seems pretty amazing but the truth is it took me until the moment that I saw it to really appreciate my journey.
You see, climbing up mountains is not really my thing. They look fantastic from the ground and I appreciate their beauty but I’m pretty scared of heights and find it difficult to balance myself as I teeter on unstable ledges. Sticking with my preferred zone of comfort, I would have taken a few pictures of this famed New Zealand mountain and went on my way. However, I was travelling with my boyfriend at the time and for the sake of compromise, I decided I would make the climb.
Mueller’s Hut is a well-known destination around Mt. Cook National Park. Essentially a cabin at the end of a 4 hour, uphill trek, Mueller’s Hut is a basic, but cosy retreat at the top of the peak. It has two rooms with 20 beds each, all located side by side. With a basic kitchen, a cistern for drinking water and an outdoor drop toilet, it has everything needed by hikers who are seeking refuge from the elements.
Our climb was long, steep stairs, loose gravel and rock patches that required both hands and feet to get past. The wind blew madly and I fell more than once trying to make my way up. I was cursing the trail and my boyfriend for making me take the hike that I felt was unnecessary to enjoy the mountain.
Once we arrived at the hut, the weather took a turn for the worse with torrential rains that had me avoiding using the outside toilet. The hut was freezing and I put on all of the clothes I had in my pack, huddled in my sleeping bag and hoped that the winds wouldn’t knock the entire structure down. The hut creaked and shook and I barely got any sleep, waking up with gasps of fear that the walls around me would crumble.
The next morning all of us hikers got stuck inside the cabin, waiting for the storm to be over. After five hours of reading, waiting and trying to keep warm, we finally were able to head back down the mountain. I fell a few more times and my legs eventually became so weak that it took an extra hour to hobble down.
I hated the experience at the time but looking up at the mountain as we finally drove away. Couldn’t help but feel a little proud of me. Everything around me was pushing me out of my comfort zone. My travel partner, the weather; it forced me to face fears and experience something different. When I sit back and think about the glaciers, waterfalls and gorgeous views of the nighttime sky, it all seems worth it.