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December 2020 Issue
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Pigeon Post, December 2020

Kait receives a Backcountry Cuisine food pack worth $100 from Readers, send your letter to the editor to win.

Letter of the month

Microdosing LSD less dangerous than tramping

I wish to commend Wilderness on the open-minded article, ‘A trip on the wild side’.

I note a correspondent was concerned that this article was harmful and should not have been published (Pigeon Post, November 2020). I wish to refute some of this reader’s claims to better educate the curious hiker.

LSD is not considered to be an addictive drug. The body also does not develop a tolerance to LSD unless it is used for multiple days in a row; in that case, tolerance will drop off again after a few days of abstinence.

The concept of a gateway drug is also misleading; research supports the idea of gateway drugs predominately in relation to nicotine and alcohol. LSD is probably not going to cause you to seek more harmful substances. Regarding harm, there is no evidence to suggest that moderate LSD use causes any negative long-term effects and most users use it occasionally and in low doses.

Microdoses are about a tenth of a regular dose. My friend tried microdosing recently on a hike and experienced no ill-effects. In fact, he experienced no effects at all. I suspect placebo effect was the strongest effect felt by the tramper in the original article.

Overall, microdosing is likely of much lower risk than tramping itself.

– Kait O’Callahan

– Kait receives a Backcountry Cuisine food pack worth $100 from Readers, send your letter to for a chance to win.

Misguided comic

I am 13-years-old and am an avid reader of Wilderness, just like the rest of my family. The stories, reviews, and photos are excellent.

However, when reading the November issue, there was something that didn’t sit right with me or my family.

The Trail Life comic is one of my favourite sections in the magazine. It is funny, lighthearted, and entertaining, so I read this section as soon as I can. Yet, reading the November comic, ‘Life stages of a tramper’, I realised that this was not up to the usual excellent standard. I found it misguided and slightly offensive as it showed a 15-year-old carrying alcohol. My older sister is 15, and she would never dream of carrying alcohol while tramping.

I would also like to bring to attention the fact that many people in my community are working hard to keep young women engaged and active in their teens. Representing a 15-year-old girl as someone who carries alcohol in their pack does nothing to encourage younger women to use their time outside to appreciate the landscape. This is irresponsible, offensive and is not good role modelling for the younger generation of adventurers.

I also find it misguided, as from my tramping experiences, and those of my family, people carrying alcohol tend to be in the 30 to 40 age bracket. I have yet to see any teenager, boy or girl, carrying alcohol.

The rest of the content in Wilderness is exceptional and I hold your magazine in high regard. You can do better Wilderness, and I know you will in magazines to come.

I will continue to read them, and I hope you will better represent teenage women in the magazines to come.

– Alex Tilby-Adams

The New Zealand death

In regard to the story ‘Over troubled waters’, I recollect from a book I read, perhaps The Luminaries, that ‘drowning became known as “the New Zealand death”.’

Te Ara, the online encyclopedia of New Zealand, says this about New Zealand rivers: ‘The early European settlers failed to realise the intensity of rainfall in New Zealand and how rapidly rivers could rise. The broad gravel-bed rivers were particularly deceptive: although usually shallow enough to wade across, in flood their currents become powerful. By 1870, just a few decades after European settlers first arrived, rivers had been responsible for 1115 recorded drownings. Drowning became known as ‘the New Zealand death’.’

The November article states four questions should be asked before crossing a river: Do I need to cross? Is it safe to cross? Where do I cross? How do I cross?

From many years of hunting in rugged country where I would return to my base camp at the end of each day, I think there is a very important fifth question: Do I need to come back and am I prepared if I can’t?

I have always hunted with a small pack with the essentials for at least one night out.

– Steve Edmonds

DOC media permits

In regard to the online story, ‘NZ media rallies against DOC media permit’, do I, as an individual taking photos and video of my tramping trip and putting them on YouTube, Facebook, my website, also require a permit? Could this be deemed ‘commercial’ for the purposes of DOCs form filling?

Looking at DOC’s concession application requirements, the answer would seem to be ‘Yes’. Maybe every tramper taking video and photos should just simply fill in the forms and send them in and see what happens. Let’s all pick a weekend and do it.

– Peter van Hout