At the summit of Mt Urchin, during a four-day tramp in the Kaimanawas, the sole of my friend’s left boot began flapping like a demented pukeko. Tape was deployed and we continued to our Waipakihi River campsite.

But on the following day’s walk up the river to Waipakihi Hut, the boot disintegrated. Using a pocket knife to punch holes, my mate tried to stitch the sole back on with twine. But the knife closed shut on his finger, leaving a deep gash.

Frustrated by these speedbumps, I needed some alone time and headed up to Pt1475m nearby. That was when I spotted a lone boot lying abandoned in the middle of the track. With my mates approaching, I discretely hid it in my pack and we convened

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