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Tramper rescued after falling into long-drop toilet

Photo: Brinnon Fire Department

A wrap of the biggest stories and best writing about the outdoors from New Zealand and around the world.

Have you ever glanced down a long-drop toilet and wondered how dreadful it would be to fall down? Well a 40-year-old woman in the US suffered that very fate.

When answering a call of nature she dropped her cellphone down the vault toilet (as they’re called in the US). She then took apart the seat and used a dog lead to try and fish it out.

When that failed she used the lead to support her weight as she tried reaching down to grab the phone herself. Unfortunately the lead snapped and she fell head first into the waste.

She could, at least, use the device to call for help, and the firefighters who rescued her said she was lucky not to have been overcome by toxic gases. Read more here

“You are my Cinder-fella”

Kea are notorious bandits, and when one of our cheeky mountain parrots stole a shoe from tramper Scott Lange, he thought he’d never see it again.

Scott had been walking up Cascade Saddle in Mt Aspiring National Park when the looting took place.

But amazingly his shoe was not only found but returned by Dr Hannah Morey, who’d been searching for her friend’s shoes that had also been nicked by the pesky birds.

“We found her shoes luckily and his shoe was right next to it,” said Hannah. “I was like, well, I can’t just leave this here. I’m going to have to try to get it back to him.”

She didn’t know any details about the theft victim, but managed to track him down online, and returned the shoe in Christchurch.

“I was like, ‘you are my Cinder-fella’ and he had bought me very kindly a box of beers for my troubles and, yeah, it was quite pleasantly awkward.” Read more at RNZ

DOC visitor numbers drop

For the first time since the pandemic hit, DOC has seen a fall in summer visitor numbers.

Across the Great Walks network tramping numbers dropped by a fifth, and there was a five percent decline in DOC campground bookings after the boost that saw people flock to the great outdoors post-lockdown.

The department said the slight drop was expected after such a boom, but it hopes it can nurture the connection made by Kiwis with the outdoors over the past couple of years. Read more at New Zealand Herald

Record-breaking year of chopper rescues

The post-lockdown boost in numbers exploring the great outdoors might have been great for the nation’s health, but it also led to a rise in rescues.

Rescue helicopters undertook a record 9500 missions last year, and people are being asked to give generously during Chopper Appeal Month.

“It’s great to see people out exploring our own beautiful country at every opportunity, but it does mean we’ve seen an increase in people needing our assistance,” said Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter group manager Vanessa Richmond. Read more here

The walking trail where land mines and airstrikes are a risk

There’s a bold attempt to piece together a long distance walking trail in the volatile area of Kurdistan, in the Middle East.

The mountainous region spanning Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran is not one frequented by many overseas visitors, despite its natural beauty.

Instead, a troubled recent history means wandering off-track could result in hitting a land mine, and there’s the threat of airstrikes from the Turkish military targeting those who they regard as terrorists.

However, this isn’t stopping Syrian refugee Lawin Mohammad and Irish writer and presenter Leon McCarron trying to create the 240km Zagros Mountain Trail using existing paths, herder’s trails and mountain pass routes. Read more about this idea here