Conversations w/ Good People: Nathan James
Nathan James runs one of our favourite blogs, Adventures from the South. It provides in-depth guides to some of the most beautiful hikes and huts in the South Island, with topographic maps, weather guides and section by section descriptions so you don't get lost. We caught up with the intrepid man himself and asked him some of the key questions we've wanted to ask since day one.
Tell us a little about your blog 'Adventures from the South" and how things started there.
The blog came out of reading many other blogs that I had found for inspiration on trips yet the lack of information that I could find from DOC on a number of the backcountry trails that we have here in New Zealand. I enjoyed photography and wanted to improve my writing skills. Paired with reading numerous other hiking blogs I saw creating and managing a blog as a way that I could learn a few new skills while sharing the places that I had been. From there it’s grown and inspired me to strive to create a space that you can come to find information on an adventure and end up with all the information you’d need.
Zampa Tops (https://adventuresftsouth.com/zampa-tops/)
What would be your most memorable tramp so far?
The MOST memorable tramp that I’ve done was a 7 day hike on the West Coast back in my first year of University that myself and three others where we planned out a 5 or 6 day hike across a couple of passes on the West Coast. We had some idea of what we were getting ourselves into but the terrain was pretty challenging. With such big packs and a few bits and pieces of unnecessary gear. It ended up that we got to the halfway point of the hike when the rain started to pour and the rivers were a little more swift, instead we decided to re-trace our steps (which at the time we though was crazy). We made it back out a day later and were pretty stoked to get back into civilisation and eat proper food. You definitely learn a few things after being with the same boys for 7 days, 24 hours a day.
What features do you look for in a good hut?
A good view & a fireplace are the two main features that I look out for. Especially during the winter months when it gets colder. It’s pretty satisfying cutting wood, having a warm cuppa and then being snuggled up in bed for a good night’s rest before another day in the wilderness.
What are 5 items we'll always find in your backpack?
- First Aid Kit
- Emergency Shelter
- Meal Mates/Cheese/Salami (my favourite lunch combo)
- Topographic Map
Finally, what adventures are on your list for the rest of this year?
I’m hoping to get up to do a couple more hikes down around Mount Cook before the year ends, hopefully a fishing trip to Lake Sumner and possibly a trip up the Waimakariri. Otherwise there are a couple of spots around Rahu Saddle on the West Coast that have some stunning camp spots that I’m keen on exploring.
Check out his blog to plan your next hike.