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January 2021 Issue
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Pigeon Post, January 2021

Paul receives a Water-To-Go 750ml Classic bottle and filter worth $130 from

Letter of the month

A spectacular perch indeed

The story, ‘A spectacular perch’ kindled memories of my first-ever climbing trip.

I joined my first climb in 1971 with seven others from the Canterbury University Tramping Club rather apprehensively due to my limited outdoor experience.

Weeks earlier, we had some alpine instruction on one of the local ski fields where I learnt to self-arrest, but we had not practised any rope techniques so I was relying on the experience of the others.

It was an achievement for me reaching Waimakariri Falls Hut with my heavy pack – it was the camaraderie of the group that got me there with constant laughs and ribaldry, and of course spectacular panorama at the Falls hut on arrival which I well remember.

I wasn’t just carrying my axe and crampons – I had decided to include a bottle of wine, once I had worked out a sharing technique. This was a plastic part of a syringe which held 5cc and would allow two or three squirts per person. Clearly, nobody got inebriated but the enormous merriment that resulted would have given the impression that we all had drunk a bottle each.

The next day we made it to the top of Mt Rolleston, though I felt I wasn’t carrying my weight, dangling at the end of the rope. Sometime later I climbed Rolleston via the Otira face without ropes.

But it was the wonderfully-relaxed first trip which started me out on a life-long appreciation of the challenges and rewards we can find in the mountains along with the friendships that come with it.

– Paul Bruce

– Paul receives a Water-To-Go 750ml Classic bottle and filter worth $130 from The filter removes 99.9999% of viruses, bacteria, protozoa and more from drinking water. Readers, send your letter to for a chance to win.

The problem is people, not Pouakai Tarn

The article, ‘Is Pouakai Tarn an asset or a liability?’ attempts to ask important questions on what happens at this highly instagrammable spot. But to me, the story heading is extremely problematic.

The tarn is not the issue, instead people’s behaviour is risking harm to the environment (a main point of the article).

In my world view, Pouakai Tarn is a living being. How can it be a liability (or an asset for that matter)? While I do not whakapapa to that part of the motu, I know several people who do. To them, it may be likened to asking, “Was my mother an asset or a liability” when what you really wanted to explore was how your behaviour as a child impacted your mother’s wellbeing.

Ngā mihi o te kōanga – springtime greetings.

– Dot Dalziell

Representation of young people

I wanted to thank Alex Tilby-Adams, the young writer whose incredibly well-written letter ‘Misguided comic’ I’ve just finished reading.

Her kind and thoughtful response and consideration of the representation of young women in the bush is awesome.

I’m an outdoor educator and spend much of my time in the bush running Duke of Edinburgh journeys. I had a giggle at the comic and shared it with some instructing friends of mine, but in hindsight, Alex is completely right. We should be encouraging young people of all backgrounds to come out and enjoy and explore the bush, learn to appreciate the outdoors’ ability to relax and destress our overwhelmed brains, and develop a healthy hobby for years to come.

Shot, Alex, you’re awesome.

– Chelle Thomson

Pre-booking campsites ruin spontaneity

I continue to be amazed how DOC keeps coming up with ideas which directly impinge upon our freedom to explore and enjoy our wonderful country.

Gradually more and more huts, and now campsites, are being added to the booking system. DOC says this is a good thing; of benefit to us.

What on earth is DOC doing by making many of their wonderful campsites, theoretically, only useable if you pre-book during the ‘peak season’, which is from October 1 to April 30 – the whole spring and summer season?

I’ve not seen anywhere on DOC information sources that you can still use the old kiosk system. I can understand booking might be necessary in some sites in January, but the rest of the year?

As I write this, my wife and I are sitting at DOC’s Orari Gorge campsite in Canterbury, having not booked and therefore (presumably) likely to be ejected by the ranger, should he or she show up. There’s a sign at the entrance telling us how to pre-book. Amazingly, we actually have a feeble internet connection and possibly might be able to book but wait, there’s the ‘book-in kiosk’, complete with forms so we popped our money in there and, hopefully, all will be well.

When on holiday, we tend to wander day by day, dependent on the weather, to campsites from which we can go tramping, mountain biking or trout fishing. Thus, we might meander up the Eglington Valley, never knowing which site we may end up at. As far as I can see (with limited internet), all the Eglington campsites have to be pre-booked. Is there cell phone coverage up there?

I fear this is the ‘thin end of the wedge’ and gradually more and more huts and sites will require pre-booking. Please DOC, NO!

– River Howe

Money-saving weather protection

My recent tramp on the Old Ghost Road inevitably included the good old West Coast rain. I’d purchased a $2 yellow plastic raincoat prior to departure in preparation for the inevitable rain. It saved the day! Worn under my old un-waterproof raincoat, it kept my thermal top and torso 100 per cent dry.

Who needs to spend big dollars on waterproof clothing when the $2 shop can provide it all. I’m also recycling it for the next wet adventure.

– Diana de Beus