Alecia goes tramping

river valley where we went tramping

Recently I went tramping in New Zealand and didn’t die. Plus I came back with some photos. If you’re nice to me I might let you look at them.

Last weekend I went tramping overnight in the Southern Alps (that’s a big mountain range in the South Island of New Zealand). I used to tramp a lot, but for one reason or another it’s been some time.

New Zealand doesn’t have snakes, poisonous spiders, bears, crocodiles, ticks, killer koalas, bigfoots (bigfeet?), or toxic sharks.

The thing most likely to kill you in the bush (which is what we call our native forest) is the weather.

Sometimes the weather falls torrentially from the sky and rushes across the land in rivers, which tip you upside down and smash your head against submerged rocks you when you try to cross them. (In case you didn’t get the point, it was “never attempt to cross a river in flood”.)

So we planned two alternative routes.

The preferred route was flat and easy, perfect for my current level of not-fitness. It also involved a lot of river crossing.

The alternative route involved fewer rivers and more hill climbing.

When we called DoC (The Department of Conservation, overlord of backcountry routes and huts in New Zealand) in advance of heading out they told us river levels in the area were low because of the drought, but afternoon thunderstorms some days were causing flash flooding.

We decided that sounded promising and took the flat, river route.

As you can tell from the fact I’m writing this, we didn’t die. We didn’t even get an afternoon thunderstorm.

Instead we had a pleasant stroll up a grassy valley to a cosy hut with an excellent view and bug screens on the windows. The long drops didn’t even stink too much.

Then we came back and I wrote a post with too many adjectives.

Since I can’t end this story with a tragic death, I’ll show you some photos instead.

regrowing beech trees
Regrowing beech trees
Pre-grown beech trees
river bed
Greywacke (is that even a real word?) in the river bed. Oh, yea. And some mountain.
Alecia goes tramping
Yep, that’s me and my hat, Sam, on the veranda of the hut.

Did I mention New Zealand is beautiful?

What’s most likely to kill you in the wilderness near where you live?

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Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

20 thoughts on “Alecia goes tramping”

    1. I did feel rather accomplished, thank you. The biggest risk in NZ rivers tends to be giardia, though the water where we were was safe to drink. I feel so lucky to live in a country where you can drink water straight from most of the streams.

  1. Most likely to kill me in New England? Well, the trails first of all. Unlike the trails in my native Colorado which employ a particular technology called ‘switchbacks,’ New England trails just go straight up ravines. It’s very nerve-wracking.

    Apart from that? Probably ticks. There is a tick that has nearly reached my area which has the power to make people allergic to meat. I’m not the biggest carnivore in the world (I love my vegetables), but if I was never able to eat a steak again, I’d probably die.

    Your nearly-summer looks absolutely beautiful. Lucky lady to live in such a place. . . 😉

    1. Haha. No messing around for New England trails! They laugh at your switchbacks.

      And a tick that can make you allergic to meat? What kind of horror is this? I think I’d die too.

  2. Most likely to kill me in the wilderness near me… the easy answer would be grizzly bears. There are many of those in Alaska. Another distinct possibility is avalanches. Falling in a crevasse is always possible. Then there are other fun scary things: floods, dehydration, getting lost, falling, even stampeding moose. The thing that scares me the most, however, is making my wife angry and having her decide the time has come to cash in on that life insurance policy. Okay okay… My wife is very sweet and we love each other very much. But cabin fever can do strange things to a person….

  3. Your “tramping” (which has a completely different and unfortunate connotation Stateside) looks glorious. I happen to live very near the home of Bigfoot, so I’ll overlook the wildfires and earthquakes and go with our beloved local monster as the preferred demise, were I to go . . . tramping 😉

    1. Haha. I’m aware that in your part of the world tramping is frowned upon rather than being looked forward to with delight. But the work “hiking”? It’s just not the same. Btw, I fully applaud your decision – I would get eaten by bigfoot too.

  4. Your countryside is so beautiful. Rattlesnakes aren’t generally fatal, but I wouldn’t want to pet one. Also, black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders are a problem in Texas. Your pictures make me long to get out of town for a bit and see some trees and stars.

  5. We have copperheads and rattlesnakes. Brown recluses. I’m not really sure what else. When I lived in Arizona as a kid, near the Sonoran desert, people and pamphlets and posters always were very clear about what plants, animals, and insects to watch out for. So when I moved to Texas and didn’t see any of that, I assumed there weren’t any dangerous things here! LOL! I guess Texans just expect you to have lived here all your life and already know.

    1. Ooh, bitey things! I’ve noticed people who grow up in areas with lots of dangerous/poisonous creatures tend to get pretty blase about them. “Keep an eye out and you’ll be fine.” Yea, right!

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