Tramping in New Zealand (Newsletter Extract)

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

I discovered that Oxford Forest allows dogs, plus the tracks take you through native forest (you can see photos on my other blog) with the sound of bellbirds all around.It had been years since I had done an overnight walk and camp and I consulted my essential tramping list to make sure I didn’t forget anything:

  • Down sleeping bag (I HATE being cold), silk liner, mat, tent
  • boots, lightweight shoes, walking poles (I used to scoff at these, but they really prevent you becoming tired)
  • cap, raincoat, warm hat, gloves, down jacket
  • lightweight towel, two sets of underwear, merino t-shirt, merino long shirt, two fleeces, trousers, leggings, (maybe) shorts, Buff scarf
  • glasses, contact solution, ear plugs, toothbrush & paste, deodorant (longer trips), medical kit, sunscreen, insect repellent
  • rubber bands, headlamp (I have one that takes rechargeable AA batteries), camera, phone
  • matches, fork & spoon, camp cookware, plate, penknife, cooker, gas, water bottle
  • book, notepad and pencil/pen, cards (if I’m going to be in a hut with other people)
  • tea, nuts & raisins (or trail mix, if I’ve been organised. Not on this trip.), crackers, salami, cheese, prunes, 2 minute noodles, tuna, chocolate, ginger nuts (the only biscuit that is nearly indestructible)

It was a nice short tramp, taking just over an hour to hike to the beautiful Ryde Falls where we camped for the night. The night was cold, but starry and we wore nearly all our layers and shared a lot of red wine (part of Duncan’s essential packing list) to keep warm. Billie retreated to the fleece blanket in the tent.

Billie is much improved after last month’s scare. He is still walking like a drunk and did fall down a small bank on the walk but he was happy and acted like he did on the Coast to Coast, barking at us to get going if we stopped for more than 5 minutes. Which was fine as the sandflies would turn up after that. Maori legend has it that sandflies were created to keep people from being idle and it feels that way when you are tramping.

This is an excerpt from my Illustrated Epistle, which goes out in the middle of the month. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a cartoonist (specifically, mine). You can sign up here (and unsubscribe if you don’t like it, or even if you do):