A postcard from Mount Somers

This was the very first trip, well actually the second. The first was around the gleaming bays of Abel Tasman National Park, but that hardly felt like tramping – I had worn sneakers the whole way, and at one point was able to stop for pizza and a beer. For this trip I needed to buy boots, and, unsure I’d ever use them again, I visited the shop several times to try them on before finally handing over my cash.

‘You two are going tramping together!’ the saleswoman said, when I came across Sam in the outdoor section of Rebel Sports, another exasperating amateur outfitting himself for his first tramp.

With those new boots shining, we headed off early on Saturday morning and then slowly drove back down the street, looking for the guidebook and hut tickets we had left on the roof of the car. Thankfully we found them. Apologies to Christchurch City Library for the tyre tracks on Lonely Planet Tramping in New Zealand.

We got there though, and we walked up over dry Canterbury hills. We passed through ancient beech forest, and past an abandoned mine to arrive at an old shearers hut beside a stream. Even better, there was a ramshackle sauna. Swedish exchange students had built it in the seventies. We sat around the hot rocks, the heat loosening our muscles, and then ran out to lie in the mountain stream until we felt cleaner than we’d ever felt before. Happy and exhausted, we were ready for a second, and a third day in those hills. I would never regret the boots.