“Gone Bush” by Paul Kilgour, published by Harper Collins. Price $39.99. Reviewed by Tony Orman.
English writer Tolkein of Lord of the Rings fame once said “Not all those who wander are lost.” “Gone Bush” author Paul Kilgour epitomises that wandering passion.
The striking cover is inviting. There’s a term in tramping circles of “bagging a hut” by visiting it. Paul Kilgour has visited over 1200 backcountry huts and in the hills behind Takaka, recently bagged his 1208th. In 2008 he walked the length of the South Island from Fiordland to Golden Bay mostly via mountain trails or just routes – an incredible feat.
While he loves the solitude he’s not averse to meeting backcountry people, especially those of similar ilk.
“The type who like me, were happiest on the hoof or holed up in a remote bivvy: swaggers, recluses, latter-day prospectors and high country musterers.”
Being in the bush is the ultimate.
“The air is clear, the world is quiet; time stops,” he writes. Better still on longer trips he sometimes doesn’t take a watch. “I slept when I needed to, ate when I was hungry —I was tuning into natural rhythms, into the bush, the mountains and myself.” He admits to occasional bouts of depression. “In the times, the bush is often a solace.”
“Gone Bush” in its own way, wanders in very likeable fashion and the author at times touches on his personal life and relationships.
It’s a most enjoyable book especially if you, yourself have wandered to some of the huts he chalks up. Not surprisingly Paul Kilgour is rated as a ‘hut bagging legend.”
An absorbing delightful read.