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September 2019 Issue
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Wilderness readers confess ‘leave no trace’ sins

Two Thumbs. Photo: Richard Davies
Whether by accident or intention, it is almost impossible to tramp without leaving a trace.

But some sins are greater than others, and when Wilderness opened its ‘leave no trace’ confessional, readers were willing to share their darkest secrets.

Few trampers set out to ‘freedom poop’ on the trail, but sometimes nature calls at inopportune moments, Chris* claimed.

“During the Two Thumbs section of Te Araroa, the effects of too many magnesium tablets took control of my bowels and I had a ‘super empty’ right into an open rabbit hole,” Chris said. “There was nothing else around to cover it so I walked away hoping no one would venture off track in the same place – I’ve always remembered that as one of my few disgraceful freedom poops.”

Walking the Sabine Track in Nelson Lakes National Park, Robert was horrified to stumble upon a bloated boar carcass left behind by a hunter on a riverbank by the campsite.

“Needless to say, no one was able to camp; the smell was so bad and it was contaminating the water,” he said.

Laura confessed to leaving a tampon under a small rock, and the sin clearly played on her mind.

“I went back and checked it out a couple of years later and it was totally composted into nothingness – phew,” she said.

Jared said he is still pining for a hand-operated coffee grinder he left in Jumbo Hut, Tararua Forest Park, 20 years ago.

“[There was] no dramatic explanation, alas – no dash for safety, no pack of rabid polar bears, no ghosts or UFOs to account for my loss, [just] oversight, plain and simple,” he said.

* All names have been changed to protect sinful trampers’ identities.

Next month we want to hear your ‘left at home’ blunders. What essential kit have you left in the car or on the kitchen table and only realised your mistake after hitting the trail? Email