Bushwalking, hiking, tramping...

ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
Whatever you call it, who does it?

There are so many places I'd love to go, and no doubt many places I don't know I want to go to. I thought we could share some experiences we enjoyed.

I did an 11km walk today along the Te Āpiti (the narrow passage) - Manawatū Gorge, on NZ's North Island. The gorge is particularly interesting as it is the only place in New Zealand where a river begins its journey on the opposite side of the main divide to where it joins the sea.

A video of the walk can be found here. Huge native trees, ferns of all sizes, vines, birdsong... -- these are what you can see and hear. Amazing views at points to the surrounding hilly countryside. The track meanders up and down, and is almost always shaded by the canopy.

A 6m sculpture of Whatonga greets you early in -- he was one of the first three chiefs to arrive on NZ. At the end is a carving of Te Hononga Maunga, referring to the unique position of the Gorge between two mountain ranges and as a revered place to the Rangitāne, a Māori iwi (often translated nation, tribe).
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Comments

  • That walk sounds amazing.

    I'm another walker given the opportunity, but failed miserably to get out much last month - we both had disgusting colds that took me out for weeks and meant my daughter wasn't well enough when I was. But I have walked some of the long distance paths in the UK and have a bucket list of others I want to walk.
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    A few years ago, before I met him, my partner did all the Wainwright summits in the Lake District (214 of them) in one calendar year. Since then, we have set ourselves the target of doing all the outlying fells (114 if I remember correctly) - we hope to complete the task this summer.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Let’s hope the summer is kind to you. We did a short walk taking in part of the northern end of the Dales Way with some attractive lumpy Westmerian rurality. We finished with lunch at The Watermill at Ings and (as planned) caught the bus home because the afternoon was gey driech here.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    (A modest 5 miles/ 8km)
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host
    Friday, I took my parents on a walk through one of the local cypress swamps. (Don't worry! The path is a boardwalk!) We went about two miles and the swamp was actually wet, which is unusual for this time of year.

    The day was beautiful, if a little warm, and most of the cypress, elm and maples had leafed out. (Yes, we saw gators, fish and turtles and a variety of birds!)

    I'm really glad my parents can get out and that they are willing to go when I suggest it. Dad will be 89 next month, and Mom is 83. Not too bad for them to go like this at their ages!
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Shipmate
    Not able to do long trails any longer but reading this reminded me of walking through the Fish River Canyon in Namibia in a cold clear winter and seeing a vast flock of gloriously fuchsia-pink flamingoes flying into the gorge at sunset.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    Same here - but the memories get better every year!
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    Let’s hope the summer is kind to you. We did a short walk taking in part of the northern end of the Dales Way with some attractive lumpy Westmerian rurality. We finished with lunch at The Watermill at Ings and (as planned) caught the bus home because the afternoon was gey driech here.

    The Watermill is lovely, but the Eagle and Child at Staveley is fantastic.



  • daisydaisydaisydaisy Shipmate
    I need to find a bird watching group to walk with - I’m nervous walking on my own in case I trip or do something equally stupid, and walking groups tend to chatter when I want to listen to the silence or the birds or the wind in the trees. Bird watchers might be quiet.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    Another walker. I tend to walk local when I can. I am planning shortly to do my almost annual, I am fed up with winter walk a.k.a. the Blue Loop with a friend. Its easy, safe paths and gets me walking. It is also the route I use to check my ability to carry a pack on a longer route. I also have my 'Hang it, I want a walk' route that takes me from home to Dore and back by train, my 'escape Sheffield' route and my 'Edge and Derwent' route which is a really pleasant relaxed days hike.

    When I organise holidays I like to do multi-day hikes but keep to relatively short distances on any day (12-15 miles approx) as I go solo and have to carry a pack. I have done St Cuthbert's way and most of the Cleveland way. I am trying to summon up the energy to organise doing the North Wales Pilgrim Route
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Sparrow wrote: »
    The Watermill is lovely, but the Eagle and Child at Staveley is fantastic <snip>
    I’ll bear that in mind. I’ve usually been driving, and so gone to Wilf’s
  • Jengie Jon wrote: »

    When I organise holidays I like to do multi-day hikes but keep to relatively short distances on any day (12-15 miles approx) as I go solo and have to carry a pack. I have done St Cuthbert's way and most of the Cleveland way. I am trying to summon up the energy to organise doing the North Wales Pilgrim Route

    That looks so cool! I’ve probably walked parts of it without even realising the history. Thanks for the tip.

    I really like a good walk out and North Wales is one of my favourite areas.
  • Can I put in a shout-out for Levada walks in Madeira? (the photos on this page do not do them justice).

    Levadas are irrigation channels which basically contour round, and sometimes through, the mountainous terrain (sometimes with a vertiginous drop off one side, too). The paths are there to maintain the levadas. The pleasure is spectacular scenery, flat walking, and walking alongside running water the whole time.

    Mrs Eutychus and I discovered this after an almost random decision to got to Madeira on holiday knowing virtually nothing about it and a very last-minute decision to throw in our hiking boots. You also need to throw in a torch, preferably a head-mounted one, for the tunnel sections, which can be seriously long.
  • Also on my bucket list is to get back to the Long Stone on Exmoor which I have not been to for many years and is one eerie place. Quite remote (by England standards) and the weather needs to be good.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Like @Eutychus I like Levada walks. I'm fine at walking long distances, but I have dodgy ankles and very tight hamstrings that make steep ups and downs tricky and the beauty of Levada walks is, that as they are water channels, they are challenging without having steep gradients. We like walking holidays and have done a few. Albania was amazing, but I basically had to be dragged up a mountain and pushed down the other side.
    At the moment we're doing the Capital Ring. We started near home in the South West bit, and are working our way home. We did the official start walk last week which was lovely, helped by it being so warm we didn't need coats. There are so many green spaces in London that I'd never heard of or been to, so even as a native Londoner I am finding out new things.
  • My bucket list includes the West Highland Way, Offa's Dyke Path and both the pilgrim routes to Lindisfarne - there's St Cuthbert's Way and St Oswald's Way along the coast which both look amazing. (Stopping linking here as three are enough for the hosts to check.)

    I've walked the Pennine Way and Pembrokeshire Coast path and would love to go back to walk the Pembrokeshire path in May when the seabirds are nesting, with bird and butterfly guides. We walked in summer in clouds of fritillary butterflies.

    I walked a chunk of the North Norfolk Path a couple of years ago, and would love to go back and finish that one, it's stunningly beautiful. And a bit of the Cleveland Way and want to go back and walk more of that.

    Then there are the bike routes, the Coast to Coast from the Lake District to Robin Hood Bay (I've walked in the Lakes and some of the Yorkshire coast from Whitby to Scarborough for a long weekend) and the National Cycle Route 1, which runs from Dover to the Shetland Islands - because it's there. And that would definitely have to be completed in sections. And there's a SYHA Bike packing route, the West Island Trail, that takes in Arran, Islay and Mull.

    The other walks we found a couple of years ago were the disused railway lines in the Peak District - I've walked the Monsal Line - which is full of tunnels to walk through too, and chunks of the Tissington Trail.

    (It's all a couple of years ago because I couldn't do sunlight last year - but when my daughter was living away, we met for weekends away walking every 4 - 6 weeks.)
  • Many years ago I completed the Lyke Wake Walk, but you don't get to admire the scenery much if you want to abide by the rules.
  • I walked Offa's Dyke with my twin brother at the age of 15. It was the hot summer of 1976 and we slept outside sometimes, including in the Dyke itself.

    I hope to do the North Wales Pilgrim's Way and to build up to doing The Camino del Santiago.

    To take a tent or not, that is the question (not on The Camino, but here in the UK). My brother has a lightweight one-man tent he's never used. I fancy having a go with that.
  • I wimped out on carrying a tent when I stopped walking with college friends and started walking with my daughter. I ended up carrying all the extras for two of us (first aid, food for the day). We both carried our own clothes and toiletries, until she couldn't, when I double packed, her smaller pack in front, my bigger one on my back. So I really didn't want to carry all the extras to camp: tent and sleeping bags and mats, cooking equipment, however lightweight. We hostelled for many of these walks.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    daisydaisy wrote: »
    I need to find a bird watching group to walk with - I’m nervous walking on my own in case I trip or do something equally stupid, and walking groups tend to chatter when I want to listen to the silence or the birds or the wind in the trees. Bird watchers might be quiet.
    They aren't that quiet. I go out with a local group here quite often. They're a good crowd and great company, but people do sometimes comment that we'd see more birds if we didn't talk so much.

    I'm not into really serious walking, but @Jengie Jon one great thing about being old enough to have a bus pass, is you can either catch a bus somewhere and walk home, or walk to somewhere and catch a bus back. Even better for the latter if there's a pub or a café where you wait for the bus.
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Also on my bucket list is to get back to the Long Stone on Exmoor which I have not been to for many years and is one eerie place. Quite remote (by England standards) and the weather needs to be good.

    Staying in the Brendon Valley during April, and planning to hike over The Chains to the Long Stone.
  • 'Mats'? Mats? What are these mats of which you speak, CK?

    ;)

    Hostels are few and far between on some long distance walks. There aren't that many along Offa's Dyke for instance, so it'd be B&Bs or a tent. We had one I think - or was that the following year when we walked up to North Wales from our native South Wales making the route up as we went along ... ?

    If I remember rightly, we slept out in the open, under a hedge or in the Dyke itself, for four of the nights when we were away on Offa's Dyke. We stayed in one B&B, I think, one Youth Hostel (Llangollen) and someone let us sleep in a caravan in their garden one night too. I can't remember all the places we slept, but then, it was 1976 and very warm.
  • I once slept under the eaves of a bull ring in Spain during a thunderstorm. I've slept on a few beaches too, here and abroad and in olive groves and woods. I'm sure my 'al fresco' sleeping days are well and truly over though. We're talking of between the ages of 15 and 19.
  • daisydaisydaisydaisy Shipmate
    edited March 7
    I once slept under the eaves of a bull ring in Spain during a thunderstorm. I've slept on a few beaches too, here and abroad and in olive groves and woods. I'm sure my 'al fresco' sleeping days are well and truly over though. We're talking of between the ages of 15 and 19.
    This reminds me of Laurie Lee’s “As I walked out one midsummer morning”. I don’t think I’d be able to sleep ‘al fresco’ because of the rustling - not out of fear but mor curiosity. And because I like my creature comforts too much.
  • I "slept" 'al fresco' on a tiny island-at-high-tide off a not-quite-so-tiny Isle of Scilly in my youth one summer night. The dawn was amazing but I've never been so cold in my life.
  • Have you slept outside since your teenage years with just a sleeping bag? The mats are more insulation than anything else, and I wouldn't want to camp without one. I was very glad of one walking the Pennine Way in mid-summer (it rained most days) as a teenager.

    Guide camp reckons mats are essential and I know quite a few people who take camp beds and a blow up mattress, but that's heavy.
  • When I said 'al fresco' I meant without a sleeping bag!
  • ... and you were a teenager then ...

    One of the guys who walked the Pennine Way with us slept in a sleeping bag inside a bivouac bag, which we all carried as safety kit. He was travelling incredibly light, and fast.
  • Yeah, I reckon I do it with a bivvy bag, but it'd depend on the time of year.

    I'm sure I'd feel the bumps and the cold more now than when I was a callow yoof.

    Mind you, I did sleep inside an abandoned quarryman's hut up near the Rhinogs once. I'd have been better off sleeping out in the open. It was sopping wet in there and there was rubble all over the floor.

    The cosiest Al fresco nights I had was one in the ditch of Offa's Dyke itself and another in a dry ditch alongside the Monmouth and Brecon Canal. The worst was the old quarry hut and the pavement outside Barcelona train station. Mind you, my pal was robbed when we slept in a park in Cordoba and I was rudely awoken by a policeman's boot in Dover.

    I think my most adventurous one was when a friend and I were invited by bored conscripts to stay the night in spare bunk beds in an army ambulance depot in Badajoz. I woke to the sight of immaculately polished cavalry boots and an officer staring down at me in astonishment. As our hosts tried to mollify him and a colleague we grabbed our clothes and rucksacks and legged it over the yard, scaled the wall and dropped down into the street and off. Fortunately it wasn't a very high wall ...
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited March 7
    Eryri or the English Lakes. No contest. Has to be mountains. Tops of.
  • We. re still cross-country skiing. It appears with the long range forecast that we'll be able to ski at Easter. Which is dope.

    Haven't heard the term "al fresco" except for fancy picnics. I frequently nap outside in summer. Outside nighttime summer sleeping is usually dictated by mosquitos and other bugs in the summer here.

    By "bush walking" do you mean hiking in wilderness areas? Done a lot of 1-2 week hikes through the mountains in BC and Alberta. Some scary times with bears I will recall all my life. A grizzly isn't at all like a black bear.

    Settled area walking tours, we've been in several places in Europe which many of you will know more about than me. I'd recommend the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland, the Celtic Shores Trail in Cape Breton, the islands in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the mainland where you walk, camp, take a ferry, get to a new island, repeat.

  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Re "bushwalking", the meaning I've used in Oz is any walk in the countryside. Generally "bush" in Oz means any sparsely-populated area. Walks I've done have included high country (mountains) ones, walks through eucalypt forests, walks in gorges...

    Such variety in the posts here! Thanks for sharing -- they sound amazing. I long to do one of the Camino de Santiago routes one day... I can dream. Now I am in NZ there are plenty of walks that have caught my eye. Just need to organise and work it all out!
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    Years ago I used to belong to the New Forest Ramblers' Association. Leaders would give map reference points for a meeting point and then do a circular walk. I was more of a fair weather walker, I'm afraid, but it was a most enjoyable day every time.
  • @KarlLB - the Pennine Way is mostly on the top of those hills. We came back from all that isolation and we went to Edinburgh, because there was a bus from Jedburgh to a train station, that way. The contrast between the quiet and mayhem was tough. If I did it again, I'd want to come down slowly.

    (Plus it was Festival time, so getting to a shower in any of the hostels was - um - challenging. At the time, there wasn't a shower at Kirk Yetholm where we'd been the night before, and I'd been in a peat grough to my waist up on the Cheviots on the final day. I had hosed myself down in the boot sink with cold water but it really wasn't enough.)
  • How do you deal with a Grizzly, No Prophet? I'd have thought it was curtains if you ran into one of them in the woods.

    You can't outright them, you can't out climb them, if you play dead it doesn't fool them and they simply eat you alive.

    What do you do? Hope they aren't in an aggressive mood and leave you alone to quake away in peace?
  • 'Outrun'
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    edited March 8
    Climacus - if you want a challenge https://teararoa.org.nz This is the longest walk in NZ, covering the total length of the country. :wink:
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    These days it's half days rather than whole days, and along the flat (eg. canal towpaths, cycle paths) rather than mountain ridges. But still searching for the quiet, rural places with good views, that most people with cars never seem to get to. Ordnance Survey 1:25000 maps are marvellous at giving ideas for brilliant walks locally and when on holiday in other areas.
  • Canal towpaths and old railway lines are great. I'd be happy with those when I can no longer manage the hills.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Huia wrote: »
    Climacus - if you want a challenge https://teararoa.org.nz This is the longest walk in NZ, covering the total length of the country. :wink:

    Wow! A colleague walked it from Wellington to Palmy and was telling me about it...I assumed that was the walk. Didn't realise it went the whole length.

    Thank you.
  • How do you deal with a Grizzly, No Prophet? I'd have thought it was curtains if you ran into one of them in the woods.

    You can't outright them, you can't out climb them, if you play dead it doesn't fool them and they simply eat you alive.

    What do you do? Hope they aren't in an aggressive mood and leave you alone to quake away in peace?

    That's perhaps a little dramatic. And with grizzlies, you do play dead. You fight off the black bears. Apparently.... but never had to do any of it in more than 50 years. And we don't take guns. For starters because we don't go in hunting season, and second because philosophically we want to be part of the environment we're in, not external.

    Re encounters with grizzlies.
    The first one was in Alberta. We were going from the foothills over the continental divide, and coming out in British Columbia, it was 13 days (we'd planned up to 16, but did it in less time as the weather got bad), and this was day 6. Our trail was to go down to a creek, cross it, probably 300 feet/150 m down, then back up the other side. The far side was scree (scree is loose rock on a mountain side, this was mainly flat pieces probably 1-4" in diameter. We were ascending to a pass. Just at the edge of the scree slope the bear was eating plants, probably berries, this wasn't a detail I was storing. The direct sight line to the bear was probably 150 feet, the actual ground distance probably 300m, 600 feet. We stopped and waited. After about an hour, we decided to fire a flare to see if that might scare it. This worked and it ran down stream below the edge of the scree slope into the bush. We then hiked down rather quickly and up the other side, and up toward the pass. The thought was that it might return if whatever it was eating was tasty. We had thought we might camp before the pass, just upstream from this creek crossing. Instead we hiked another 2½ hours over the pass and camped on the west side.

    On a different trip, a second one was in the water, on the edge of it, a slow moving stream, unlike the first one, well below the tree line. We backed out and left in a hurry and ended up in another alpine valley instead.

    On another trip we were sleep, this time just my wife and me. I heard the sound of a large animal coming through the bush at about 4 a.m., just as the sun was coming up. We were camped by a small lake in the third hanging valley down from elevation. The first cirque (hanging valley) there was a glacier, when we got to the second one it was snowing (this was July but we were pretty high up) and it had cleared when we got to this one. Very pretty. I woke my wife and we briefly talked about what to do, and clung together in our sleeping bags, hands/arms around our necks. But the sound stopped. I eventually openned the tent fly and saw that we were in the company of 4 mule deer. This was actually the scariest one.

    The things we always do: never camp where it looks like someone else has cooked. Generally avoid anyone else's camp site completely. Cook downwind from the campsite at least 100 feet away but farther than that if there's sign of bear activity. Put the stove and everything food and everything cosmetic in the bear bag and hoist it up somewhere. Even clothing which might have absorbed cooking odours. Paracord is my friend. The only thing that goes into the tent is people, sleeping bags, sleep pads, book, maps and stuff like that.

    We're doing less strenuous trips now; both my wife's and my family history is camping and hiking from young and so our kids got the same experiences. (we also canoe trip, ski tour, and one of my kids is rock climbing which freaks me out a bit)
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    Noprphet

    That is a most interesting and amazing story. wonderful to have had all those experiences, and too have had the motivation and organisation to do those long-distance walks.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Indeed. Wow. Thank you for sharing.
  • Indeed, yes.

    Out of interest, how do you fight off a black bear? They've got sharp teeth and claws. Wouldn't punching them on the nose simply outrage them?

    Of course, if one grappled with you the instinctive thing to do would be to try to fight it off but wouldn't you have to be pretty sturdy and well built to stand any chance at all?
  • I've never talked to anyone whose had it up close and personal with a black bear. They're quite s bit smaller. We see them frequently where our cabin is. They usually see the people and run off. We were cycling through the bush near our cabin last summer and came across one. Rang bike bells at it. And off it went. Going back on the same trail we didn't see it.

    The rules are strict where our cabin is. Garbage inside and the disposal station had bear proof dumpsters. Bears not habituated to people are not risks.

    This may all sound exotic, but it's not really. Just the way things are when you are near unpopulated wilderness.

    The official wisdom is to fight off black bears and play dead with the grizzlies. And remember that you're much more likely to be injured or killed in a car than by animals. Moose are actually causative of more injuries than bears or at least that's the official wisdom. Don't know of anyone injured or killed by a moose either.

    There's something spiritual about places untouched by humans. They seem eternal to me. The forests, lakes, mountains. Maybe 8000 years since the glaciers melted isn't eternal... Something connecting us to eternity then. The understanding that we're allowed to be part of the whole and everything alive and dead. --incidentally, the local indigenous language Cree has genders but not like European languages re male, female, neuter. Things are living or not living, and capable of moving on their own or not (there's more to it than this). Which can mean that a rock isn't alive but it might become alive if you pick it up and move it or if it moves because of frost heave. I sometimes think one of the western world's problems is that our languages have unconscious genders of thinking everything is dead that isn't plant or animal, and another gender of being human life or not human. Pity really. We assume so much by default that isn't actually true, just part of culture. Like land isn't really a person. It makes us disconnected and often disrespectful, ready to use, destroy, conquer, disconnected from the Creator who animated everything. (CS Lewis almost had it in the Magician's Nephew creation scene)
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    NOprophet_NØprofit wrote:
    There's something spiritual about places untouched by humans. They seem eternal to me. The forests, lakes, mountains. Maybe 8000 years since the glaciers melted isn't eternal... Something connecting us to eternity then. The understanding that we're allowed to be part of the whole and everything alive and dead.
    That's a beautiful way of expressing how I feel when I get out in the bush. Thank you. Although the paths I tread have been touched by others, being in a place away from "the city" is, to me, a spiritual experience. Waterfalls in particular touch me.

    And thank you for the information on Cree and your thoughts thereafter.
  • FredegundFredegund Shipmate
    Re Cree -
    Don't you wish Sir Pterry was alive - I can almost read his views on Cree and trolls and dwarves and optional genders.
    Damn.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited March 26
    Well, after discovering fallen trees can stand back up (?!?! -- the boy is making a good recovery), I think I may take a wide berth around such things on future walks and not stop for a closer look. 😳
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Wow. I didn't know that. K, my youngest brother, a woodsman and my guide on safe bushwalking will go out in the rain, but not if gale force winds are blowing. Often there are dead branches in the canopy which bush workers refer to as 'widowmakers' - for obvious reasons.
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    Have been in Yorkshire for a couple of days on family business, but managed to sneak away for a morning walking along the cliffs at Bempton. A bracing few miles, sunny with a chill easterly wind, accompanied by fantastic sea birds as gannets, kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills were nesting on the cliff ledges. One of those occasions where the exhilaration of being surrounded by nature eclipses all other thoughts swirling round in the mind.
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