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February 2021 Issue
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Pigeon Post, February 2021

Richard receives a Gerber Suspension NXT worth $80 from www.huntingandfishing.co.nz.

Letter of the month

Wild Cuisine meals inspire hut-envy

Having recently completed an extremely enjoyable tramp along the Milford Track with a group of nine work colleagues and their partners, I felt it would be rude not to share much of the credit for the trip’s success with Wilderness.

It all started with Maddy Bellcroft’s great ‘Veggie fried noodles’ on the first night. We sexed it up a bit with seven different vegetables and a kilogram of stir fried porterhouse steak (once the vegetarians had taken their share) and it went down a treat and may have initiated hut envy.

Between courses that night, I split our group into pairs and gave them the Great Walks Quiz (from the Wilderness Daily email of October 22). The ultimate hut ice-breaker! Within minutes, almost all the 40 inhabitants of Clinton Hut had joined in and were debating the answers in a very competitive manner.

On the second night, we ate ‘Eton mess’ for dessert. On our third night we made ‘Almost instant mac n cheese’ with a couple of fresh onions and 500g of bacon. All these meals ensured “those #*#^#! teachers from Dunedin” were the subject of many conversations along the track.

As a result, even before the sore muscles had a chance to subside, this group, who are mostly new to the pleasures of the Great Walks, are already scheming about which one we should tackle next time.

Thanks Wilderness, my subscription is worth every penny!

- Richard Roe

- Richard receives a Gerber Suspension NXT worth $80 from www.huntingandfishing.co.nz. Readers, send your letter to editor@lifestylepublishing.co.nz for a chance to win.

Poor running illustration

It was good to see some advertising for trail running shoes (‘2021 Trail running shoes’) as New Zealand is such a great place for trail running.

It was a bit disappointing, however, that the accompanying photo was not that of a trail runner, nor even a runner wearing trail shoes. In fact, I would even go so far as to suggest that no self-respecting trail-runner would head to the hills dressed in the gear the model was wearing. New Zealand’s terrain, being as it is, would also mean many of us would not only dress appropriately but also carry water, a hat and maybe a phone or whistle just in case. There was no sign of any of that in the picture chosen for the gear guide.

- Rachel Ball

Fake huts on Google Earth

While measuring routes on Google Earth, I came across two huts near Manson Hut in Kaweka Forest Park that do not exist, Old Caydens Hut and Cayden Ellmers Hut (which is rated five stars by someone called Cayden Ellmer).

After some unsuccessful attempts to alert Google to change the name and position of Cayden Ellmers Hut to Old Manson Hut, I resorted to the suggestion of an edit to remove this place feature for the fake huts. The huts have both now been deleted from Google Earth.

I don’t know why someone would do this as it may be misleading to anyone who has scanned through Google Earth without actually referring to a topo map. Although the huts were within a kilometer of Manson Hut, if they had been elsewhere it could have resulted in a tight situation for inexperienced trampers.

- Flynn Grimstone, 13

Whirinaki Reminiscing

I was delighted to see a recommendation for Whirinaki Forest in the feature ‘2021 Destinations’ 

I spent a delightful two nights there last winter. I wanted a three day weekend of silence, peace and solace and duly found it.

I set off from River Road and was pleased to find no-one at Moerangi Hut and the hut book had recorded no-one for several weeks. Unfortunately, my urban fire-making skills failed me, so I was tucked into my sleeping bag by 6pm and had the longest single sleep of my life, not getting out until the sun rose around 8.30 the following morning. Congratulating myself on finding a piece of wilderness, and trying to warm up, I lay in the sun upon the table outside in my birthday suit, smiling to myself and thinking how glorious this all was.

Minutes later, I heard a helicopter and I dashed inside to change. Four mountain bikers hopped off the helicopter as my socks and clothes were blown all over the grass out front.

The second day down to Rogers Hut was my favourite. I scrambled off the path to the river on a couple of occasions for a brief swim. On the first one, about halfway between Moerangi and Rogers, there was a bend in the river with a small pool off the side. I dunked under and emerged to see three whio rushing by, handbrake-turning round the corner.

Rogers Hut was everything I hoped for. Set above the river in a clearing, it was ramshackle and dripping with character. I slept soundly, with the call of a kiwi ushering me into the cold, dark night.

Though the next day was pouring with rain, I hiked at pace back to my car.

My only regret was not driving down to Arohaki Lagoon. I set off a little ways, but gave up as I considered the hours on the road back to Auckland ahead of me.

I’m sure it’s not that nice, I said to myself. All the more reason to go back.

- Huw Morgan