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December 2013 Issue
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Editor’s letter, December 2013

How often have you worn a pair of boots and thought they don’t fit right? If it has happened to you, then you know the value of a good boot fitter. If it hasn’t, well, you could probably say the same.

This month, Wilderness launches the inaugural Outdoor Awards. You can read more about this initiative opposite and on page eight, but to summarise, they are our way of acknowledging excellence in gear, outdoor store sales service and in conservation or access initiatives – factors that, each in their own way, are crucial to our enjoyment of the outdoors.

The Outdoor Awards will only succeed if you, our readers, take the time to not only nominate finalists for each category, but also vote for the finalists. So, come December 1, I encourage you to visit our website and take part. We’re offering five $100 gift vouchers as prizes (slash, bribes), to be drawn once the nominations are in.

In June this year we ran a story by commentator Hazel Phillips on how hut wardens can make or break a trip. In Hazel’s case, the grumpy hut warden at Upper Caples Hut ruined her trip. Well, not long ago I met a warden at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Frouk Miller runs Pinnacles Hut with a broad smile and a solid dose of realism. She’s the perfect host – ultimately, that’s what hut wardens are – because she’s interested in you, how you found the walk in and what you plan to do next. That’s not easy when you work at the busiest hut in the country and can see hundreds of people in a week.

Perhaps next year we’ll add an extra category to the Outdoor Awards: Hut Warden of the Year in recognition of those wardens who have a positive impact on visitors and help to make a trip a success. Frouk Miller (and her dog Jess) would certainly get my vote.

The December issue traditionally marks the biggest issue of the year for Wilderness. It’s when we go hell for leather to bring you as many trips as possible (you’ve got so much time over the summer holidays to dream and plan your tramping adventures for the year ahead, it makes perfect sense to get the inspirational juices flowing). This year we’ve gone in search of the best views in the land. Sure, the journey is important, but, let’s be honest, most of the time it’s the thought of what’s waiting for us at the end that drives us on. With these 33 trips, you will not be disappointed.

Be sure to let us know which views we have left off.