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May 2011 Issue
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Pigeon Post, May 2011

Julie and Bill Collis of Auckland, warm up in front of the fire

Letter of the month

Earthquake trampers

As enthusiastic Christchurch trampers currently sleeping in the back garden, we enjoyed Josh Gale’s article about the response of local clubs to the February quake (p10, April 2011). We have also realised how incredibly fortunate we are that our experiences and stock of equipment (and those of friends and family) have allowed us to deal comfortably with many of the challenges of day-to-day living through this disaster.

We also empathised with the ambivalent feelings surrounding a return to the outdoors. Following the September and February quakes we’ve taken about a month to get back into the hills. In both cases, you could feel not just the lungs but the spirit expanding and rediscovering the ‘other side’ of living in a seismically active part of the world: the awe evoked by the beauty and grandeur of nature, not just its terrible power.

We’ve decided to take every opportunity we can to get up high, figuring we’re all going to need some joy and reminders of the big picture to keep us strong through the coming days. If we’re strong, we can help others.

Back at ground level, we aim to get our house as snug and inviting as our tent!

– Robyn Chandler and Jonathan Auton, Christchurch

Anatoki Hut mislabelled

I’m an obsessed hut-bagger from Golden Bay and would like to clear up a little matter. I noticed in the ‘Hut Bagging Family’ article (p28, March 2011) the mislabelling of Adelaide Tarn Hut (also called Trident Hut), as Anatoki Hut. This hut is the second hut built in the 1960’s by our Golden Bay Alpine and Tramping Club.

– Paul Kilgour, Golden Bay

Tramps close to home

We love tramping but as Aucklanders it is not easy to find trips that are achievable in a long weekend and that don’t involve difficult transport arrangements, so a recent three day trip in the Kaimanawas seemed like a good find.

Armed with varying reports on the state of the Kaipo Track from DOC, Google and Shaun Barnett’s North Island Weekend Tramps, we set off. Day one was from the end of Clements Mill Rd to Cascade Hut, a straightforward track; we camped that night in a very pretty spot beside the Cascade Stream and next morning set off over the Kaipo Saddle and down the river. The track has frequent markers but with lack of traffic it is hard to spot the actual track and was easy to lose.

Coming into the headwaters of the Kaipo and then down the river to the footbridge was a long, hard day climbing over, under and around constant log jams with a fair bit of making up the route as we went along. We were glad to get to the Tiki Tiki Stream campsite where we rested our weary bodies and dried our feet beside a cheerful campfire. The map marks the track as being on the true right of the river but actually it criss-crosses back and forth and bashes its way through a jumble of windfall for most of its length both in the river and along the banks.

The Kaipo is no walk in the park and probably doesn’t see too many trampers, but we were rewarded with experiencing New Zealand in a wild and untamed setting with gorgeous beech forest, bird calls, tumbling water and spotting a couple of deer along the way.

A perfect antidote to work and the pace of Auckland life.

– Julie and Bill Collis, Auckland

Walking and cycling conundrum

I am a slow walker and, although not a seasoned multi-dayer, I have always enjoyed the scenery while out in the wilderness. Now add my partner and our 8-year-old son. They put me on a decent bike and off we go. Wow, I’m hooked. I’m not the fastest, but we cover nearly three times the ground we would if we were walking. We get the challenge of technical riding bits and we get the joy of the scenery. We even stop at gorgeous spots for a refuel. I’m now keen to do the Heaphy Track. At three days on a bike, instead of the six days on foot, it appeals as a more realistic achievement that I can aspire too.

In response to Betty of Taupo’s letter (April 2011), on a recent ride on the Waikato River trails, we met up with four people in their 70s who had recently mountain biked a track they once walked.
Give it a try, it may surprise you.

– Teresa, Sunnyvale

Navigation skills spot on

I enjoyed reading the navigation article (p42, April 2011) and agree with the writer about the value of map and compass use. As an experienced tramper, I frequently prefer to navigate via robust non-electronic equipment such as map and compass, rather than a GPS – which can fail at times for various reasons.

Readers may be interested to know that the couple featured in the photograph illustrating this story are well-known North Island trampers and cavers Janet Wilson and Graham Peters from the Manawatu. They are both wilderness bush, mountain, cave, night-time navigators with the highest levels of skills, with vast experience in the hills. Indeed, they won the Tararua hut bagging Rogaine event in 2007 and Janet has regularly competed in rogaining and mountain running events.

It is pleasing to see good instructional information in your magazine.

– Terry Crippen, Palmerston North.