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November 2011 Issue
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Pigeon Post, November 2011

Liam Campbell, born July 4, 2011

Letter of the month

My two-year-old grandson Tim wanted to see what I was reading so I showed him the August issue of Wilderness magazine in my hands. He loved the helicopter flying over the lake and the equipment pages, then was completely absorbed by the mountain biker crossing the stream in a snow covered mountain valley.

After a few minutes he left but soon returned and handed me one of his books. I accepted it assuming he wanted me to read it to him but no, it was an exchange and he took the magazine out of my hands and went to sit on his own chair to ‘read’ it for himself.

You can now truthfully claim that your magazine is enjoyed by all ages, although a version with smaller pages would be more helpful for Tim. It also augers well for the introduction to the great outdoors that his grandparents have planned for him this summer. This will be an overnight hike from Totaranui to the next bay with six-year-old cousin Toby. 

It is a great privilege and thrill to show the next generation what an amazing country we live in and to develop in them an appreciation of the backcountry. Your magazine plays a great role in fostering and highlighting the beauties, challenges and concerns we face in ensuring our pristine environment remains that way.  Keep up the good work!

– Marianne Daines, Christchurch

Youngster prepares for outdoor adventure – part 2

I want to reassure you that there was no doctoring of this image of our son Liam Campbell, born July 4, 2011, weighing 3.375kg at the new, but shaken, Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

We can’t wait to get him into the hills and wish he was born with boots and all, ready to go, but will have to wait and do hard yards at home first!  

– Malcolm and Susie Campbell, Christchurch

Dog owner bites back

Your correspondents Phil Cawley (p7, August 2011) and David Barnes (p8, September 2011) make me quiver in mirth. David’s comments were a re-stew of some points he made to me last year.

Yes, Phil and David, my ‘defence’ [for taking my dog into national parks] was self-serving (and possibly gloating!), but one needs to get over it. This ‘crime’ happened two years ago, and was consummated by the worthwhile summiting of a magnificent peak. Bleating like this is not going to change things. It’ll most probably inspire future trips!

In fact, the overwhelming response to our erstwhile recreational endeavours with Sushi have been surprisingly supportive and positive.

David’s implication that our leashed dog was somehow caught up in ‘avian mass murder’ was histrionic and disingenuous. How about boiling the kettle and having some genuine open-minded debate on this issue?

Joe Nawalaniec (and Sushi), Thailand

Litter disgusts

The photo of the litter on Stewart Island (p33, October 2011) brought back the feelings of disgust as we walked the far coast of the island. Every step we found plastic washed up as a by-product of New Zealand’s great fishing industry.

Perhaps the term dirty dairying could also apply to dirty, or filthy, fishing. A step forward to cleaning up fishing would be a levy charged per tonne of catch with the money going to DOC to clean up beaches. Wooden fish boxes would be another good move.

A poisonous ocean of plastic soup will be our legacy to the next generation.

– Jeremy Collyns, Upper Hutt

Fire’s waning popularity

Mick Abbott’s ‘Time for a Brew’ (September 2011) was an interesting and thought-provoking article in which he raises some reasons for the decline in the use of fires by trampers.
He could have mentioned convenience. Hunting for sticks for the fire takes time and effort, sometimes a lot if the bush is sodden. And then there’s the physical effort in breaking, dragging, smashing or chopping, to get your wood to burnable size.
Let’s face it, it’s far easier to whip out the stove and have a brew ready in minutes.
So many trampers now have no idea how to chop wood or light a fire. A lot of skin saved no doubt and the forest has breathed easier without all those fires.
But as Mick says, fire lighting creates a more intimate outdoor experience. There is a wealth of learning and enjoyment around the simple skills involved.

How sorry I feel for those poor souls I‘ve sometimes met in the hills, with no fire skills whatsoever, wet through, their tiny stove flame their only warmth and comfort.

– Barry Dunnett, email

Kitting up expensive, so how to do it economically

I am a ‘newbie’ to tramping – my wife would look on it as my mid-life crisis but I think of it as an awakening. I turned 50 this year and have been watching the ‘Man vs Wild’ and ‘Ray Mears Bush craft’ TV series and something resonated with me. No, I didn’t get an overpowering desire to leap from helicopters or start eating anything that crawls, flies or swims. It was the locations and scenery in these programmes that caught my attention.

I had been trudging through work and life in general and never realised how much beauty and excitement was sitting on my doorstep. My only regret is that I have left it this long to fully appreciate what a truly wonderful country we live in. Although my excursions have not been major or significant compared to those I read in Wilderness, I am building up slowly and cautiously to take on more, and meeting new and interesting people.

Wilderness has provided invaluable information to me starting out and kitting up, and I wonder if it would be a reasonable suggestion for one of your editions to look at ‘an economical start to getting into the great outdoors’?

– Ray Tobin, Dunedin