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March 2019 Issue
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The thrill of discovery outside

Meltwater lake found on Mt Ruapehu

This month, I’ve been reminded just how much tramping and getting outside is about discovery and experiencing something new.

Of course, every tramp involves discovery in some way or another, whether it’s walking a track for the first time, staying in a hut or finding a quiet corner to sit and reflect amongst nature. But the meltwater lake found on Mt Ruapehu takes discovery to a new level. The lake appears most summers, but seldom, if ever, as early as it has this year. With climate change melting glaciers faster than ever before, it’s a phenomenon we’re likely to be seeing more of on the high slopes of Mt Ruapehu. You can see the dramatic photos here.

And then, we find how tramping the Heaphy Track offers such diversity of landscape that no two days are remotely the same. Throw in the likely spotting of the rare takahē and giant Powelliphanta snails, and it’s a tramp unlike any other in the country.

I made my own discoveries recently. On a trip to Karangahake, a place I’d only ever driven through on my way to the Bay of Plenty, I found old gold mining trails and tunnels and some of the best bush walking I’ve done in the North Island. The County Road Track is a delightful summer tramp, beneath the cooling shade of mature forest and along a trail with a gentle incline – at least on the downward leg – it’s the kind of walk anyone can do. The track is wide and even, allowing walkers to take their eyes off the path and to take in the visual and auditory beauty of this forest. I can’t recommend this walk highly enough and you can read about it and the other walking oppor-tunities found in this small Coromandel town.

My daughter helped me test the five three-season tents reviewed. It was her first time sleeping under nylon and I’m pleased to say she loved it.

While her journey of outdoor discovery is just beginning, I hope yours, and mine, continues for a long time to come.