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October 2019 Issue
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Readers confess left at home blunders

Photo: Alistair Hall

It’s a feeling everybody can relate to – the stomach-plunging, heart-stopping moment you realise you’ve left something vital behind on a tramp.

Wilderness asked contributors to fess up and share items they’ve forgotten on tramps, and once again, they didn’t disappoint.

Oliver went full MacGyver when he left his socks behind on a trip.

“I cut the sleeves off a woollen work jersey and used them, which [worked] fine,” he said.

Repeat offender Shana has forgotten her sleeping bag on a winter trip to the Hollyford Track, her cooker on the Aotea Track and some fairly important bits of her boots.

“I gave my boots a thorough clean and dry and a few weeks later put them in the car for a trip, without the laces or insoles,” she said.

Henry, meanwhile, has fond memories of the time he left his lunch in the fridge.

“Everyone gave me a wee bit of theirs. I think I ended up having the best lunch,” he said.

Dan was en route to Hopeless Hut in Nelson Lakes when he realised the noises in his head “were the plaintive whimperings of my sleeping bag in Christchurch”.

A generous group of trampers at the NZDA Palmer Lodge stopped the trip from ending in disaster.

“A tearful child reluctantly gave up her thinning three-season bag, then her dad and I exchanged details,” Dan said.

It was later returned with a $20 gift.

Julie and her friend had just started the Five Passes Route when they realised their gas was at home.

Fortunately, she had packed a lighter and a book – both items she had never packed on a tramp before.

“My borrowed book had to get read every night so we could have a fire starter for our cooking,” Julie said. “There was about 30 pages of Me Before You left when we finished our walk.”

Note: all names have been changed to protect the guilty parties.

In November we want to hear about your most memorable (think strange, interesting, best, worst) encounters you’ve had with someone while tramping. Email

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