Across the Pass
Tramping is a journey into mountainous country, across passes, along ridges, beside rivers or through forests. It is a journey also, perhaps, to discovering more about the native plants and animals existing in these wild ecosystems, and a journey into friendship or self-discovery. New Zealand trampers have produced a rich body of literature about their activity, with writing spanning nearly two centuries and ranging from poetry and songs, journals and newspaper pieces to magazine articles and books.
These stories may hold drama or tragedy, but more often they are about companionship, enjoying nature and finding challenge in wild environments. Across the Pass includes writing from New Zealanders such as writer John Mulgan, mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary and adventurer Graeme Dingle. The pieces range from epic tales to stories of strolls, writing that pokes fun at companions or instead celebrates that strong bond often forged when facing challenges together.
Some writers appreciate the intricacies of nature or the splendour of the mountains, while for others an interest in history encourages them to tread the trails first pioneered by their ancestors. All say something about the many textures and colours of the experience we call tramping. EDITOR Shaun Barnett is an outdoors author, editor and photographer. He has co-authored several books including Tramping: A New Zealand History, Shelter from the Storm: the Story of New Zealand’s Backcountry Huts and A Bunk for the Night.