The call of the wild

A southerly front has passed through and the ranges are showing off, dressing up in white for me. Frigid brides just spoiling to be conquered (apologies ladies for such a sexist metaphor – but am feeling very manly this morning – sitting here writing in my green toad Onesie directly under the heat pump).

For the last two and half years I’ve been lost in the wilderness. My tramping boots spit daggers at me whenever I see them, forlorn and lonely squeezed into the back of the wardrobe. The contents of my pack, my cherished first aid, survival kit, compass and emergency food rations have been spread far and wide throughout the house by my inquisitive daughter.

Yes, I’ve grown fat over the last two and half years, but not from the fat of the land, because I’ve hardly ever set foot on the bloody land! But that is about to change. It’s time to get fit, its time to explore, its time to pull out my trusty boots and retire my Green Toad Onesie.

Come spring and summer I will be fighting sand-flies instead of meat pies. I be in commune with nature, I will be like a bear and toileting in the woods.  I will be hairy, smelly and sun burnt, I will be one with the mountains, the Lakes and the Rivers! I will be…I will be…a man!

Random Sheep, Mountain Goats, Chamois and Thar will scatter from the hills when they see me coming. Deer and pigs will run for their lives when they see my lurching frame, purple blotched swollen face with accompanying heavy breathing, stumbling up the slope. Oh yes, Grizzly Adams and Bear Grylls step aside, its the time of the the Green Toad Rolster.

Mt Owen – the highest peak in the Kahurangi National Park is on the hit list – mind the sink holes!

Then all going well the pièce de résistance will be ‘Ole Tappy’ himself, the highest mountain I am ever likely to scale.

Tapuae-o-Uenuku, formerly Mount Tapuaenuku, is the highest peak in the northeast of New Zealand’s South Island. The name translates from Maori as “footprint of the rainbow”, though is usually regarded as being named after Chief Tapuaenuku.

At 2,885 metres (9,465 ft) it is the highest mountain in New Zealand outside the main ranges of the Southern Alps.


Which brings me to the question of gender – are mountains male or female? I think Woody Guthrie summed it up best.

He & She

He’s like the wind from the mountain
She’s like the high sky above
He’s like an eagle there flying
She’s like the sweet turtle dove.

He’s like a storm o’er the oceans
She’s like this springtime air
And he and she appear to be
Contented and a well married pair.

He’s like the lions in the forest
She’s like the deer in the shade
He’s like a sun shining brightly
She’s like a cool summer’s glade.

He’s like a wild tornado
She’s like a day that’s fair
And he and she are in love I can see
Contented and a well married pair.
–Woody Guthrie, Music by Hans-Eckardt Wenzel


I couldn’t find a recording of He and She – so here’s one of my favourites of Woody’s.


Kia Ora Roly



3 thoughts on “The call of the wild

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