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April 2021 Issue
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Pigeon Post, April 2021

Letter of the month

Umukarikari can be thirsty work

I was packing for a weekend on Pirongia when Wilderness  arrived and immediately rerouted for Umukarikari thanks to the beautiful photograph and description by James Anderson.

It was an excellent weekend out; hot weather, clear skies, and a perfect sunset cradled between the summits of Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe.

However, I have some advice for any other readers planning on doing this trip. It’s somewhat obvious when looking at the map, but there is no water between the trailhead and the summit of Umukarikari and very little shade offered once you’re out of the bushline.

I only encountered a few other people on the track and one person, in particular, was searching for the beginnings of a stream that was shown on the map but wasn’t a reality – at least, not in the dry summer.

- Ben Adams

- Thanks for the advice Ben, you receive a $100 gift voucher from www.gearshop.co.nz. Readers, send your letter to the editor for a chance to win.

Outdoors with kids

There is much to like and enjoy in the March 2021 issue. The food section was a great idea and I especially liked Jo Stilwell’s ‘Food for kids’. There’s plenty of useful information and it’s a nice chatty read.

In our experience, it always amazed me how grand a piece of stale bread and Marmite tasted when I was really hungry.

Matthew Cattin’s intro on ‘Highways to the trails’ is a fine start to a travel piece. But I got the chills reading Judit Angeli’s piece on taking a toddler on a road trip. Are we readers left to contemplate they actually leave the child alone in the campervan to go swimming?

It’s fantastic that people introduce their children to different experiences such as a road trip but baby monitor or not, my heart lurched when reading that.

- Tracy Neal

Aroha to Te Aroha

A heartfelt thanks to Bridget Jochems for her article ‘Summiting the mountain of love’ 

She articulated succinctly, yet unambiguously, the quirks and pleasures of climbing Te Aroha; straight up, compared to the other approaches.

It is ‘hard work’ and a lottery as to whether you get the 360-degree views.

My tally so far is probably about a 20 per cent success rate.

The final paragraph resonated perfectly with me: the descent takes as long as the ascent, in round figures.

I wonder every time I see the DOC sign at the base of the transmitter, stating ‘Domain 1.5 hours’. Really? Not for the average tramper.

- Marianne Libeau

Routeburn quickie

The web-exclusive story ‘The Routeburn in one day’, brought back such pleasant memories of my own Routeburn-in-a-day which I completed in 2012.

The only difference between my trip and the trip described by Peter McDermott is that I got a taxi from Queenstown at 2am. I also did the side trips up Conical Hill and Key Summit.

I wasn’t supported and got so far ahead of myself I had to chill out on Key Summit to kill time before catching the Milford bus at The Divide.

All up, my trip took 10hr 18min.

- Roy Jamieson

Sleeping bag gear guide

I have never thought until recently why you have left or right-hand zips.

Is it for those romantic nights in the outdoors? Or, as I found out recently after replacing my much-loved Fairydown Scorpion, that maybe it is due to how you sleep.

I sleep on my right side, so a left-hand zip would provide an uncomfortable draught down my back as the night draws colder. There is the struggle to toss and turn to adjust its length. Does anyone want to buy a One Planet Cocoon with left-hand zip? It’s hardly been used.

- Stuart Prattley