Image of the December 2014 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
December 2014 Issue
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Things to be wary of this summer

The Beautiful long days of summer bring their own risks and dangers. Photo: Alistair Hall

Summertime and the living is easy, right? Well, maybe not as much as we’d like. Summer brings with it exciting changes to our environment including warmer weather and longer days, writes Nathan Watson We can all be guilty of complacent attitudes from time to time, so here are a few reminders of things to be cautious of this summer.

Flooded rivers

Never be complacent about a river and always stop before you cross. Try to avoid crossing rivers that are in flood, watch out for unsafe characteristics such as discoloured water and flowing debris. River levels can drop quickly so either turn back or wait until the level drops. Always ask yourself ‘Do I need to cross?’ and if in doubt, stay out.

There’s heaps of time in the day right?

Longer daylight hours make it easier to stay out later or take your time getting to your destination. Don’t let the longer daylight hours fool you though – plan on arriving at your destination with enough time up your sleeve just in case you get slowed down or things don’t go as planned.


During summer, New Zealand is closer to the sun than compared with the northern hemisphere’s summer, which accounts for our extreme UV levels. On top of this, there is less ozone layer to block the UV rays that cause sunburn. Remember to take sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses with you.


The human body is around 60 per cent water, so we need to keep it hydrated. Don’t rely on feeling thirsty to know that you’re in need of a drink, this is the body’s way of telling you that you’re a little too late and your water levels have depleted. Drink small amounts of water frequently rather than large amounts at one time.


Summer does not necessarily mean it is always warm; it can still get cold very quickly. Taking spare clothing and wearing layers is just as important as it is in winter. Take enough clothing to keep you both dry and warm. Don’t get caught out.

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