Newsletter, September 2011


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It is mid-morning, so the spring sun is warming the porch of Bushline Hut, burning the puffy cloud layer off the lake below, mirror calm deep green.

Birds are chattering in pockets of stunted red beech, and across the Travers Valley, hidden cascades thunder into an invisible void. To the north, the cloud dissapates, revealing the bulk of Gordons Knob, Red Hill and Mt Patriarch. Further west, the snowy ramparts of Mt Owen appear; beyond is the Arthur Range disappearing into the hazy distance.

My mates are philosophising about religion and relationships; the deeper issues of life. I am content to wander for a while, find a tussock balcony to perch on, and drink in the ever-changing vista at my feet.

Rising banks of cumulus envelope me; ubiquitious namu eventually see me retreating to the comfortable hut, refreshed and quietened.

It is moments like this where we feel one with nature, divorced from the demands of our daily grind, floating for a while in a timeless world, unhurried. On popular walks or in crowded huts this sort of solitude can easily be missed. It may mean venturing off the beaten track, or going on a solo trip, to truly ‘get away from it all.’

Sometimes the reason some of us go tramping is goal-oriented; to bag a hut or conquer a peak. Even just to explore new territory, or to practise photography. Sometimes we are more human doings, rather than human beings. Perhaps the odd trip into the hills purely to slow down could be what we really need. To clear our heads. To get centred again. When creation calls ... are we really listening?

Raymond Salisbury, EDITOR

PATRON's PROFILE > Robyn Walsh

Robyn WalshI was born in Mosgiel, near Dunedin, in the year of the coronation. When Hillary and Tenzing climbed Everest. My sister is older (and is a member of the Waimea Tramping Club.)

My first memories are at 2.5 years old when we spent three months in a caravan at Hobsonville, near Auckland. Here, my dad attended a course, since he was in the Air Force.

We left Mosgiel in 1960, moving up to Woodbourne until May 1963, when Dad got a posting to the Air Force station near Suva, Fiji. I attended a school there, being Standard 3 and 4.

Memories of living in Fiji include seeing striped sea snakes, beautiful irredescent blue fish, Indian and Fijian firewalking, and experiencing two small hurricanes. Air Force picnics to the nearby Nukulau Island, which is now a prison. Us kids (and parents too) got hooked on the Beatles. We saw the white Sunderland flying boats regularly, and attended outdoor movie theatres. (Continued...)

We returned to New Zealand until my father retired. I attended Henderson High School, doing a Shorthand Typing course for three years.

My first job came in 1970 with the Post Office in an Auckland Telegraph Office. I was a teleprinter operator. We moved down to Nelson in 1971 and I transferred to the Nelson Telegraph Office, working there until 1987, then transferring to Telecom. Other short-term jobs have been with the Tasman District Council, microfiling/cataloging plans, and apple-packing over five seasons.

My interest in tramping began to stir when we came to Nelson. My first forays into the hills were with a youth group. The first tramp was to Whispering Falls and Hacket Hut, followed by a jaunt to Stilwell Bay and the Maitai Caves. I became hooked and joined the Nelson Tramping Club in 1977 (after doing my obligatory two tramps).

My first tramp with the club was another visit to Maitai Caves, then the Dew Lakes. An overnight tramp to Devils Creek Hut followed. The Easy to Moderate day walks suited me best, while weekend trips involved driving to a destination from which some glorious day walks were enjoyed. Some particularly memorable weekends have been to Charleston over New Year 1983, Pakawau over New Year, 1984, and Totaranui.

Another very special trip was the 1996 cycle trip through the Rainbow to Hanmer Springs in perfectly clear weather. (I drove a van.) Absolutely beautiful scenery!

My tenure on Committee began in 1983, then a 23-year continuous run evolved. I enjoyed every minute, getting to know members I wouldn’t see on the easier trips. Taking part in running the club, hearing trip reports at meetings, and planning itineraries. Positions held on the Committee were Secretary, Treasurer and Newsletter Editor.

During my time on the Committee, I have seen the names gradually change. Also, in the club I have seen many members come and go. But it is good to see a few stalwarts are still in the club.

Also, the objects of the club and atmosphere of the trips, clubnights are just the same as when I first joined: full of enthusiasm and awe of our backcountry. We still do things the same, but with subtle differences. (e.g. clothing, packs, GPS, vehicle models, more roads sealed, club Committee more saftey-conscious, etc.)

Oh, and when I joined NTC some 34 years ago, the annual subscription was a mere $3.00.

Robyn Walsh, Club Patron

2011 CLUB NIGHTS > Put these dates in your diary.

7:30pm Nelson Intermediate School, Tipahi Street. Gold Coin.

  • Monday 3 October > Marguerite Verheul > Hiking the Inca Road & climbing volcanoes in Ecuador, PLUS Ray Salisbury > 80-Day Traverse across the North Island, from East Cape to Cape Egmont.
  • Monday 5 December 2011 > Annual Photo Competition

SUBS DUE! > Membership Subscriptions Reminder

Membership subscriptions are now due and are important for the continuing expenses of running the club.A notice has been posted to you by the club secretary. Subscriptions were due 1 July.

Annual subscription fees are: Couple: $45; Adult: $30, or $40 if newsletter & programme are posted to you. (These fees include an FMC Affiliation levy of $10.00 per person.)

(The alternative to a differential was say $35 single sub for everyone which would have meant that the 80% would subsidise the postage for the 20%.)

Contact Pat Holland > Phone: 539 1340. E-mail:


10-11 September > Outdoor 1st Aid :Full course> Cost: $150 

The Outdoor First Aid course is designed to equip outdoor users with the skills and knowledge necessary to manage accidents and sudden illnesses in the outdoor environment for a minimum of 24 hours.

You will complete a minimum of six hours practical work in the outdoors treating, in a group, people injured in mock accidents.

Venue: Girl Guide Centre, Paretai Lodge, Lee Valley Rd, Brightwater.
Contact: Evelyn O'Neill
23 Coleridge Place, Stoke.
(03) 547 2426.

COMPASS & GPS TRAINING > for beginners and experts

Date: 24–25 September
Leader: Mike Glover – Ph 544 7955
Glover family bach, Tadmore
Start 9.00am Saturday. Finish approx. 2:30pm Sunday.

The morning session starts around the table with compass familiarization, map reading and grid references. Put this knowledge into practice with a navigational exercise outside.

In the afternoon, learn to navigate using a map and compass – the easy way. Go outside to check if the theory works. Inside again, we begin a full navigational exercise, starting at a basic level and getting progressively more difficult.

A BBQ potluck tea is followed by GPS training. There are bunk spaces for six people, (or bring your own mattress or tent).

Sunday morning will be spent in the bush to find set way points. Back at the bach talk about the exercises and answer any questions.

This is meant for everyone – make time for it, join in, learn, experience, share. There are new tricks to be learned and people with experience can help teach the beginners. Bring a compass and GPS if you have them.


The Scouting movement in NZ has seen a record increase of about 5% in membership.

They need YOU to volunteer. If you are an ex-Scout member, you could become a leader, donate money, or join the Youth Foundation which works tirelessly in the background to help fund events.



NEW MACPAC STORE > Members get 20% discounts

Instead of the normal 10% on showing your FMC membership card, also sign up to join the Macpac Wilderness Club, and get a whopping 20% off.

Note that the Nelson store has now moved to Trafalgar Street.

RECIPE > American Fudge Brownie

190g butter
¾ cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
pinch salt
4 eggs
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking powder
¾ cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Melt the butter completely

Pour onto cocoa and combine

Add sugar, eggs and vanilla.

Mix on high speed until colour lightens slightly

Add flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips.

Mix until just combined

Pour into a lined sponge roll tin and bake for 45 minutes at 150º C.

Should crack slightly around the edges but still be soft to the touch.

Allow to cool before cutting.

> > > Submitted by Jo Kay ...and sampled at our recent AGM.


BOOK LAUNCH > Himalayan Hospitals by Mike Gill

Sat 17th September > 6.45pm > Theatre Royal Nelson

Ed Hillary built two hospitals in Nepal. For more than 30 years, volunteer couples from NZ & Canada worked in these remote places.

Mike Gill is now launching his book: Himalayan Hospitals - Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest Legacy.

Wine – snacks – films – music


Tickets: $50 plus booking fee.All proceeds to Ed’s Nepal work.|
Purchase from: Everyman Records, 249 Hardy Street, Nelson.
Phone: 03 548 3083
Book online at:


DOC UPDATES > Huts, Tracks & Roads damaged

For latest track conditions, go to:

For recent track or road washouts & warnings, go to the FMC link: