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December 2015 Issue
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Pigeon Post, December 2015

Letter of the month: The power of Wilderness

With a four-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son, opportunities for my husband and I to get out tramping have been limited in recent years. My last tramp was to Mt Pirongia three years ago, during which my boots fell apart and ended up being tied together with spectra cord.

However – at my suggestion! – my parents recently gifted my husband a subscription to Wilderness magazine for his birthday and we have been feeling inspired again. We had our first night away from both kids this month with an overnight tramp into Mangamuka Hut in the Kaimais. It was fantastic to just be ‘us’ and not ‘mum and dad’ for a night. Next on the list of things to do is to take my daughter on her first overnight tramp, the plan being to head into Peach Cove Hut (luckily, I bought and kept the August 2012 issue of Wilderness for its feature on family friendly tramps!). I hope to organise some girlfriends and their daughters to join the fun.

And for my husband and I, we are already organising the babysitters for Easter 2016 so we can do Waikaremoana. Once our son is a bit bigger, we’ll be able to plan some family trips. In the meantime, we’ll keep reading Wilderness and getting ideas for the future!

– Jane de Ville, email

– Way to go Jane! Keep an eye out for our January 2016 issue where we publish another feature on top family trips to try. – AH

Jane receives a pair of Rab Latok Alpine Gaiters worth $139.95 thanks to Readers, send your letter to the editor for a chance to win.

Thanks for the training

In response to the article ‘Evolve or Die’ (November 2015) regarding the restructuring of the Mountain Safety Council, I wish to relay my sincere gratitude to all members of the organisation for the training programmes they did run.

A serious horse riding accident resulting in spinal surgery had me living a life wrapped in ‘cotton wool’. But later in life, while raising children and running a dairy farm, I required constant physio. With encouragement from my physio and a member of the Geraldine Tramping Club, I joined the club in 1995. I became so much stronger and found a whole new and enjoyable world in my own backyard. My enthusiasm became infectious and soon my husband and daughters were joining me on day tramps.

I have taken MSC bushcraft and first aid courses run in our local area and the knowledge and confidence I gained was immense. The course material covered aspects not available within the tramping club as well as completing basic fundamentals that we could practise. I found the outdoor first aid section invaluable – the principles of prevention, then aid, with time a factor in aid response, are not only essential for tramping but for our farming operation as well. When I attended a farm safety course, the instructor was impressed with the teachings I had picked up in relation to this course.

I have completed one updated MSC training programme and my daughters completed two each before attempting their Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. Each course has been extremely valuable and complementary to each other.

Though I have not undertaken the sometimes epic journeys often described in Wilderness, I thank all who inspired me and my family to appreciate and experience the beauty our country has to offer.

– Sharon Boulton, Geraldine   

Huge Potential up North

I couldn’t believe so many misconceptions could be included in correspondent Peter Dymock’s letter (Pigeon Post, November 2015).

I have lived and tramped for equal numbers of decades in both islands and I have personally enjoyed all of the Te Araroa Trail. I am one of the thousands of outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate tramping throughout the length of New Zealand with all the diversity our wonderful country offers.

Rather than taking up space in an exhaustive counter to individual points, it is recommended that the writer just reads the great variety of trip reports that appear month after month in this superb magazine and looks them up on maps to see what great New Zealand-wide coverage they provide, even outside the Queenstown area.

The Coromandel and Kaimai-Mamaku ranges have the potential to provide a long multiday trail. Currently, the only publicly accessible long distance section is the seven-day Kaimai North South Route – unfortunately under-maintained and under-developed over the last few decades. Mud? Yes, but remember the knee deep sections of the Heaphy Track before serious money was spent on it. See what a popular walk (and ride) it is today as a result.

To convert the rough old Kaimai North South Route into the proposed Kaimai Ridgeway requires just three new huts and modest amounts of track surface protection, with the result being a multiday trail for the whole country to be proud of – a rugged range, superb bush and mountain streams, views of the Bay Of Plenty islands, across the hills and plains of the Waikato, to the central mountains and beyond to Mt Taranaki.

The thought that 1.4 million people should not be allowed to have suitable multiday backcountry options locally because the facilities would be overwhelmed is a curious concept – rather, the Kaimai Ridgeway should be seen as the beginning, not the end, of what this part of the country can offer.

– Tony Walton, President, Auckland Tramping Club