It might seem a bizarre entry for a visitors' book - "yeah, for the pee bucket" - but I'm under orders from alpine guide Kiersten Price to write something memorable about my stay in Caroline Hut at 1830m on the Mt Cook Range.
After all, prime ministers have bunked down here, she says, and if friends or my children follow me over Ball Pass they will search in the book for something more imaginative than "great views, great hut, great guides".
So the bucket it is, and praising it is not quite as weird as it perhaps seems. The toilet at Caroline Hut, the only private hut in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, is about 20m down the ridge from the hut back door.
So Alpine Recreation, the Tekapo guiding company that built the hut and runs guided crossings of Ball Pass, doesn't want its clients sliding off the ridge in the middle of the night.
Hence the bucket that appears on the back porch in the evening and is gone by the time you crawl out of your sleeping bag in the morning.
It is an example of the sort of thoughtfulness that you expect in luxury lodges but not in a mountain hut. And KP, as Price is known in the hills, has been dishing out care and attention since I laced on my boots.
Mind you, it's the sort of thing you'd perhaps expect from a company founded by the late Gottlieb Braun-Elwert, who was one of New Zealand's most redoubtable alpine guides.
Braun-Elwert, who died suddenly of a ruptured aorta in August 2008, was a precise climber and fastidious guide.
He developed the Ball Pass Trek to allow non-climbers to get close to New Zealand's premier peaks, "to touch those shining snows, to climb to their heights of silence and solitude, and to feel myself one with the mighty forces around me", as Freda Du Faur, the first woman to climb Mt Cook, so beautifully put it.
The track is easy to follow up shattered rock, scrubby alpine vegetation and the autumn remnants of giant buttercups and daisies but it is almost vertical and the step-ups would better suit legs longer than mine.
It is a sweating, sobering initiation to the Ball Pass Trek unless, like my companions, you are a 23- year-old footy-fit Aussie, a 46-year-old Wellington triathlete with the legs and body to prove it, and a 29-year-old Auckland marathon runner who does more than 150km a week.
"I'll stay at the back and then I won't feel pressured," I suggest to KP, and, knowing that I have a little experience in these hills, she agrees.
So I huff, and puff and perspire my way to Caroline Hut, thankful that I have taken Alpine Recreation at its word on what it provides and left behind a lot of the usual paraphernalia of alpine tramping.
This is a national park and anyone can follow this route as a two-day trek across the range, camping near Caroline Hut and using the hut toilets and water supply.
And if the weather gets really foul there is an insulated, emergency shelter built into the end of the hut with radio communication to park headquarters.
But then I have never been one to subscribe to the theory that there is no gain without pain - not when I am relaxing in a cosy and clean alpine hut with solar-powered lighting, and KP is preparing a gargantuan chicken and vegetable stir-fry.
And if that is not enough to send you into some sort of somnolence after a four-hour climb, then step outdoors and watch the tip of Mt Tasman and the Caroline Face of Mt Cook turn pink in the setting sun, and listen to the roar of ice falling off the fearsome face.
You tend to run out of superlatives in those circumstances and can sympathise with those who just write, "great views, great hut, great guides".
Day two is a relaxing, breath-catcher. We climb Fergan's Knob above the hut and traverse Ball Ridge to gain access to the summit of Pukaki Peak. It is a lunch spot you are unlikely to forget.
If the panoramic views of the Liebig Range and Lake Pukaki do not cast a spell then you should at least remember the 2222m height.
On the way back to the hut we bum slide on a snow slope to practise self-arrest with an ice axe and learn how to walk in crampons.
I learn, with some satisfaction, that a lack of experience on snow and uneven ground slows the tri-athletes and marathon runners down to my pace.
Day three is an early start and the sun is just lighting the summits of Cook and Tasman when we leave the hut at 7am and follow Ball Ridge to breast the snow-covered pass at 2121m in little over an hour.
We make an orderly descent to the Hooker Valley, 1000m below us. About halfway down the range towards the Hooker Glacier and beneath Mt Mabel, are the Playing Fields, a well-named alpine grassland.
We lunch, lie back in the sun and marvel at the alpine herbs and small clumps of white gentians still flowering in autumn. Way across the glacier, Hooker hut stands forlorn above the moraine, cut off by slips in the moraine wall and no longer of much use on a crossing of Copland Pass to the West Coast.
A couple of hours later and we are on the valley floor, bathing hot feet in a mountain stream for a final scroggin stop before striding down the east bank of the Hooker to Mt Cook village.
It should take no time at all but the weather is far too perfect for heads down, bums up tramping.
On a day like this the congratulatory cold beers at The Old Mountaineer cafe and bar, or the Hermitage, for our crossing of Ball Pass can wait a little longer.
** This was the final newspaper article written by award-winning journalist Colin Moore, who died after a tragic boating accident. Colin was a former New Zealand Herald staff member and a well-known travel writer and adventurer.
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