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February 2012 Issue
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Pigeon Post, February 2012

Boulder Lake Track access

Good News; the James Road Bridge, washed away in floods in December 2010, has been replaced and vehicle access to the start of the Boulder Lake Track in Kahurangi National Park is now restored.

We would like to thank Tasman District Council for their very wise decision to replace this bridge – not only is it a huge relief for us to have our lives returned to normal, but also for all New Zealanders to have access to the backcountry restored. We would also like to thank Concrete Structures for the speed and professionalism with which they built it and finally we would like to thank, you, the trampers, especially Golden Bay Alpine and Tramping Club for your support.

Our farm is once again open and we welcome trampers who wish to embark on this spectacular tramp to Boulder Lake.

– Graham and Jenny Pomeroy, Collingwood

Pirongia updates for Te Araroa Trail trampers

In the January 2012 feature on the Te Araora Trail (p45), the track from Pahautea Hut to Pirongia West Rd is described as Tiwarawara Route. However, this route has been closed for the past three years and the correct track is the Hihikiwi Track.

The Hihikiwi Track is continuous from the hut to the road and is inclusive of the Noel Sandford boardwalk.

A further correction is the start of the Nikau Walk which is described as ‘an easy stroll….following the stream across farmland’. During the past 12 years this walk has been the site of major restoration planting. The Nikau Walk now largely passes through a 4m-high forest of plantings with occasional views of farmland beyond and follows the Kaniwhaniwha Stream, the highest ranked stream for water quality in the Waikato. The Nikau Walk is constructed to a standard suitable for wheelchair users and family cycling.

Pahautea Hut is the first hut on Te Araroa. Last year we installed a new camper’s shelter and new toilet system at the hut site. We now have what may be the best upmarket backcountry toilet in the country!

This year we are moving the hut 20m to a new site and refurbishing it with a deck and painting. We are hopeful a new 20 bunk hut will be built on the original site in the future.

The hut site offers great views across the western harbours and the Waikato. Sunsets, sunrises and the evening lights of Waikato towns. Nearby is a goblin forest of 800-year-old pahautea trees.

– Bruce Postill, Department of Conservation Waikato Area Office

Grading Cape Brett Track

I write in response to Sandra Whyte’s letter regarding the grading of the Cape Brett Track as ‘easy’ (Pigeon Post, January, 2012)

I have walked and run the 16km track on two occasions, a 5-8hr journey climbing over seven grassy hills which tower more than 300m above the ocean.

The lack of water en route was a major hazard. Sunburn and heatstroke may also contribute to an unpleasant experience, but lack of fitness would be the chief thief. I heard of one party coming to grief, stumbling down to the lighthouse after a 14hr day. The guilty, blister-ridden tramper was evacuated by boat. For them, this track was clearly ‘difficult’.

Shaun Barnett has rated this track as ‘medium’ and the New Zealand Tramper website rated it ‘easy-moderate’. DOC warns you will need a ‘high degree of fitness’.

Grading tramping tracks is a rather subjective affair.

– Raymond Salisbury, Nelson

Finding balance

I so enjoyed Brian Turner’s insights into what wilderness gives us in his essay ‘World of indifference’ in the book Wild Heart. Do we have the right balance between becoming wealthier and healthier?

After I have done a tramp, I am sure that this balance becomes sharper, clearer and more defined. On our journey through life we need to be sure in ourselves how we achieve this balance – of course this varies for everyone.

Wilderness magazine goes a long way to helping to provide this balance for me. Thank you – keep up the good work.

The sales of Wild Heart go to the Kea Conservation Trust and Forest and Bird’s Fresh Water for life campaign. I thoroughly recommend this book.

– Rex Hunt, Richmond