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Sam Harrison

Bleary eyed I emerged from my car at Takapu Rd Station. Here I encountered my first obstacle, getting into the WTMC van. This was was far too difficult for half past six in the morning, taking a swift blow from Richard’s boot to finally dislodge the door from its jammed state. At Wellington Station we picked up the rest of the crew, making five of us total: Tereza, Monique, Richard, Juliette and myself (Sam). Soon we were winding our way over the Rimutakas through an exceedingly dense patch of fog. Well we think it was fog, there were some good…


Hellfire and Misery, sounds like purgatory, definitely sounds like type two fun, but did the valleys that bear the names live up to their namesake?

The two hours before I was supposed to leave for the ferry certainly felt like purgatory. Who knew trying to cram a whole-day’s worth of work into a couple of hours would result in so much misery and stress? As the clock struck 11 o’clock I discovered that our ferry had been delayed and so it was a very leisurely 1pm arrival for me by train to Wellington Station where I met up with my compatriots Tereza, Rasmus, Christina and Mat. Our party truly had an international flavour having a Czech, Australian, Bulgarian and two kiwis, If we walked into…


A trip around the Dress Circle and a bit beyond

I’ll admit, I was a Tararua virgin for 23 long years. As small as the range is in stature compared to its southern counterparts, it more than makes up for it with its fearsome reputation. Early on the Saturday of Waitangi weekend I found myself gazing at the Tararua topo maps, tracing each track around in an effort to thread together a feasible trip. Whilst I was in the midst of this process I flicked Ella a message because I knew she would follow me blindly and not question my route choices. …


A not-so-divine comedy

23rd of Jan — Pouakai Hut

#1 Limbo

I was in limbo, where were the others? We had a descent walk to do to get to Pouakai Hut and the clock was ticking. I didn’t have to wait long to find out.

“What does the tea-pot light on the dashboard mean? is it an issue if it’s on?” rambled my cousin Zoe on the phone.

To make matters worse, one of the party members had been gripped by Smeg-mania and was on an unholy quest for knives. The result of the aforementioned issues along with a few others meant it wasn’t until 11:30am when the car pulled in…


Google tells me there are over 6000 languages spoken today by people around the world. Compared to some of these languages, the English lexicon is poorly equipped to adequately describe the multitude of experiences that one might encounter whilst tramping. In light of that, I tried to expand my vocabulary this New Years and this article is the result.

After Christmas I found myself experiencing fernweh [German], ‘distance sickness’, an ache to get away and travel to a distant place. It was the 30th of December and days were passing lazily by without much to punctuate them. …


Five girls stand on a rock, as naked as the day they were born. At the same time I am sitting on the biv’s shitter. The door is not closed, in fact, there is no door. There aren’t even any walls. In this vulnerable state I contemplated how my life choices had led me to this moment.

“Don’t worry Sam, none of us girls are hot enough for you to have anything to worry about”.

Rewind to Sunday night. I was getting stone walled by some folk who said they were keen to tramp Monday/Tuesday. This was a bugger of…


I can’t remember where I first heard about the Dusky Track in Southern Fiordland. Over the years I’ve read about it on blogs, magazines and even in a bookshop in Belgium. Yet I had never quite managed to make it, thwarted by bad weather, tight time frames and flakey party members. However I can now say that the OUTC email list will be pleased to know I will no longer be sending any emails about the Dusky Track. By mid-November 2020 a weather window appeared to be opening, long enough to get past the critical choke points of the track…


Sometimes I feel that planning a tramp is the hardest part of the whole affair. After numerous ultimatums, negotiations and concessions a plan was tentatively laid out; our route would take us over the tops between the Caples and Greenstone Valleys, down to Steele Creek, with the option of heading over Death Valley (sounds appealing right?) back to the road.

Ben mucked around on the date of our departure, so I left him behind to go pick up Hanne and Jakob. By the time I had picked Jakob up from OUSA Ben was still nowhere to be found. Upon ringing…


When people speak of the Catlins they talk of wild beaches, but few venture into the untamed rainforest that stretch inland across the region. These are remnants of a great Southern forest that was felled through the 19th and into the 20th century. I had been curious about the huts that hid in this forgotten rainforest and being so close the temptation to explore was too much to resist. Julia and I had a rather lazy start on Sunday, only leaving 2 hours after initially planned. On our way to the start of the track we stopped to take in…


Getting stuck in the Old Woman

So when I had asked Ben if he wanted to go snowshoeing in the Old Woman Range I didn’t expect to find myself driving Suzi up Nevis Road with three others plus an all-wheel-drive Subaru with another four that could “totally tackle any muddy roads”. Seven out of the eight of the party seriously doubted this assertion but decided to watch the inevitable unfold anyway. The Nevis Road is one of the highest public roads in the country, reaching 1280m at its highest point and is pretty tame - this lulled us into a false security. Approaching the heights of…

Sam Harrison

Tramper with something to say about tramps (of the walking variety).

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