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Te Araroa Trail walkers encouraged to make plan B and C

With Northland, Auckaldn and Waikato in Alert Level 3, Te Araora trampers are being advised to head south and avoid the upper North Island. Photo: Amos Chapple

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Changing Covid-19 alert levels are causing havoc for south-bound Te Araroa Trail walkers.

More than three quarters of thru-hikers who registered to walk the trail this season intended to begin their journey at Cape Reinga, but lockdowns have stranded or postponed plans for many. 

Departing Te Araroa executive director Mark Weatherall said walkers who are stranded in locked down regions cannot stay on the trail.

“I suggest they bunker down or make their way home,” he said.

As for walkers yet to begin, Weatherall suggests skipping the North Island for now.

“With Northland, Auckland and Waikato closed to through-walking, we suggest walkers planning to do Te Araroa do the South Island first,” he said.

Weatherall advises Te Araroa Trail walkers to have a plan B and C, in what will be a challenging season for the trail.

Boaties lost at sea enjoy “a nice break from everything”

Two men who spent 29 days lost at sea said the experience was “a nice break away from everything”, The Guardian reports.

Livae Nanjikana and Junior Qoloni set off in a 60 horsepower motor boat from the Solomon Islands in early September.

The pair intended to make a 200km journey to New Georgia Island, but got caught in bad weather and their GPS stopped working.

“We couldn’t see where we were going and so we just decided to stop the engine and wait, to save fuel,” Nanjikana said.

For 29 days, the boat drifted, while the men survived on oranges they had packed, coconuts picked out of the sea and rainwater.

They were finally spotted off the coast of Papua New Guinea, and taken to the town of Pomio.

Nanjikana said the break from the pandemic was a positive outcome of the misadventure.

“I had no idea what was going on while I was out there. I didn’t hear about Covid or anything else,” he said. 

“I look forward to going back home but I guess it was a nice break from everything.”

Water bottle ban for national parks in the USA

A new bill may see the sale of disposable water bottles banned in the USA’s national parks.

“Too often, single-use plastics end up polluting national parks and clogging our waterways. When they build up along trails and streams, they pose a severe threat to the plants and animals living there,” the bill’s sponsor Mike Quigley said.

“This is common-sense legislation that if enacted and signed into law, will ensure that our natural wonders are around for generations to come.”

The bill would reinstate a similar programme from 2011, which saw the sale of disposable water bottles banned in 23 national parks. 

Officials said the programme, which opted for affordable reusable bottles and filling stations, eliminated an estimated 60,000 single-use water bottles from participating national parks. 

See Outside for more.

Sikh hikers use turbans and clothes to rescue stranded man

A group of hikers have been called “ingenious” for their unique rescue of a man in Golden Ears Provincial Park, British Columbia.

Search and rescue teams were called to Lower Falls to assist a man who had slipped and fallen into a pool, but when they arrived, he had already been rescued by a group of five hikers.

The group had spotted the hiker at the bottom of a slippery bank, in danger of being swept down the river.

Jumping into action, they fashioned a makeshift 10m rope out of extra clothes and turbans, and pulled the man out.

“We all thought that was very ingenious to do that,” search manager Rick Laing said. 

“I’ve never seen or heard of that before.”

Laing said the man was lucky to have been rescued, as at least one person slips and drowns at the falls each year. 

Read the full story here.