Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The Tramp...

Well I survived but not sure my legs have. I haven't walked properly since oh, about midday on Sunday (when there was still nearly another 4 hrs of walking!) Surprisingly my legs were totally fine on Sunday. It did only take 3.25 hrs to reach Powell Hut from Holdsworth car park on Sat but I found it tough going with a 1000m climb carrying a pack and being as unfit as I currently am. The weather was glorious so were very lucky there. It was pretty hot but as we were in the bush for most of it it was never too bad.

There was a bit of drama on the way up as we saw a rescue helicopter hovering above us. We weren't sure if it was a training exercise or a real rescue but before long we passed a woman all wrapped up and shivering like mad. It turns out that she'd broken her ankle but luckily she was with friends who were taking care of her. She was in great spirits however which was good to see. Unfortunatley she was surrounded by trees so helicopter just couldn't see her. In the end they found her by dropping a paramedic off about 100metres away and another bloke brought him back to the patient. The difficulty then was how to get her out! I didn't see the whole thing but based on what Dave saw (he walked back once we got to the hut to see if he could help... my body was in state of shock so couldn't move anywhere!) they had to move her down a bit and then winch her out through the trees! Apparently it was pretty cool to observe just because of the lack of accesabilty and stuff.

The hut was pretty good; it sleeps over 30 but there were only 8 of us there that night. We got a lovely sunset that evening with some beautiful colours in the sky. I took a bunch of photos but only a few even begin to capture how nice it was. Apparently the sunrise is fantastic there too but I wasn't getting up at 5:30am (awake or not!) to watch it :-)

There were of couple of passing visitors to the hut while we were there. One was an Eastern European guy whom we'd passed earlier. Very odd... he didn't acknowledge us when we passed him yet when he arrived we were looking at map for next days route and he walks over and starts asking about other routes! His planned route for the evening was to carry on and down to another hut. Apparently that particular route is a bit tricky and much less travelled but he wasn't listening to anyone... he had a compass so would be fine. It was pointed out that a compass wouldn't be much good if visibility dropped but he wasn't having any of that. To me the weirdest was when Dave asked if he had an emergency beacon. He went quiet for a bit and then asks the hut if anybody has an emergency beacon! I mean if someone was carrying an emergency then they have it for a reason and aren't going to hand it over to somebody else! Odd. Was quite relieved when he left! Our next pair of visitors were much more fun.. Squeezy and Jessie :-) The former was a really interesting and friendly bloke and Jessie was his tramping partner... his 3 year old dog with the bestest parts of all dogs in her. She was beautiful and so friendly. The funniest thing is that after she's got used to the hut she then becomes quite protective of it and doesn't like it when new folk arrive :-) They didn't stay the night as they were going to proceed in the moonlight across to Jumbo Hut!

On Sunday we set out at 8am and set off up towards Mt Holdsworth. From there it was a long and very very windy walk across to Jumbo and Jumbo Hut.

The above picture is our route along ridge from Holdsworth across to Jumbo.

Some beautiful and amzing views but as the wind got stronger and stronger I became less and less interested in the views. Probably fair to say that I wasn't the happiest that I've ever been. I also offloaded some of the stuff in my pack in to Daves (cheating I know but probably was the sensible thing to do considering). After a few hours it was quite a relief to sit in Jumbo Hut for a short break; just getting out of that horrible wind was all I wanted. I mean I know that if I did fall over I wasn't going to drop to my death but I guess it was just a lack of confidence thing. After leaving the hut we headed in to wooded area from which we started our descent. I was v happy initiallly here; no wind just balmy breeze with nice temperature. A few hours later my legs were no longer functioning properly. I kid you not... a continuous 700m drop took it's toll. My leg muscles haven't had such a workout in, well, I don't know how long! And I'm still feeling it! On finally reaching the bottom we arrived at Atiwhakatu Hut beside a lovely river. From here it was about a 2 hr walk walk out and it shouldn't have been hard but I struggled. Honestly, I didn't know if I could make it out but as alternative was to stay put and go nowhere I did. The biggest smile of the day was when I saw the jeep at the end of the walk nearly 8 hrs after leaving hut that morning :-) But the weather was beautiful on Sunday so that certainly helped. I mean how yucky would I have felt if it had been raining as well?!

The leg muscles are thinking about starting to recover (I hope) but otherwise no injuries or aches and pains which is fantastic! The conclusion is that I did enjoy the weekend without really having enjoyed the Sunday. Not sure that that makes any sense at all but I feel good (mentally at least :-) ) that I did it, and yes I think I might do another... though definitely one with a shorter and less difficult descent!

Friday, 23 November 2007

sorta packed...

All packed... or at least sort of. I'm heading off on my first tramp tomorrow morning. We're just doing a 1 nighter in the Tararuas staying at a hut overnight. I did an inital pack of the rucksack earlier on but as we haven't done dinner food shop yet I'll almost definitely be unpacking and repacking once we divvy up food and whatever other shared stuff we have to bring. Not even sure what other stuff we have to bring if we're in a hut. Not too much hopefully!

Looking forward to this but slightly nervous as well I guess! Not sure what weather will be like but no really bad weather forecast. Could be a bit windy. Oh, and I haven't been on a hike since May so could be interesting to see how much my fitness has been affected! Wondering how my back will behave.. it's been consistently sore today and on Weds. Went to a pilates class last night and got some relief for rest of yesterday evening. This has been going on for over 4 weeks now and I'm not sure if it's getting any better. Well, I know that it's not but not sure what to do about that. Unfortunately the physio doesn't know why either. I don't, or at least rarely, sit on a couch these days either! Well, I've been told that tramping will help my back... here's hoping :-)

Will update you next week...

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Be a kid...

lie on your stomach on the floor while watching a dvd with a mate... you may not intend to be childish but trust me, it's hard not to be...
Try it :-)

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Burnt feet!

Well, maybe it does get warm in Wellington after all! My feet got sunburnt today... bit surprising. I have two friends up visiting from Christchurch so I took them to one of my favourite breakfast cafes here in Welly in the Aro Valley this morning. Nice and sunny out though I was impressed with them putting on their suncream for their walk... it wasn't that warm! After that we walked out to Hataiti through the horrible Victoria tunnel (lots of cars - yuck) to where the guys were taking part (still are as I type) their 12 hr mountain biking event. I did put on some cream on my face for that walk but it didn't even dawn on me to put some on the bit of my feet that were exposed to the sun. Had an enjoyable hour in the sun there as it was lovely atmosphere there actually.

I spoke, for the first time since I got to NZ to my sister in PHiladephila this morning. It was great to see her again. Of course at the time it was 8:30am Sat morning here so I wouldn't say I was looking my best. For Ciara on the other hand it wasn't even 3pm Fri and she'd just been to the airport to pick up her friend who's come to visit for the week. Quite disgusting really as even Carolyn, just off long flight looked better than I did. Well, I hadn't had my coffee yet!

Off out for a meal with the girls to Cambodian restaurant I was in a few weeks back. Looking forward to that though unbelievably sleepy now and it's only 6:30pm! OH well, I'm sure the food wil perk me up :-)

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

So... Sydney....

I arrived home a little after 1:30am on Tues morning after a great weekend in Sydney. It was my first visit back after I moved away on October 2001 and it was lovely to see it again! It really is a fantastic city and the weather, well, what can I say? For the first time in months I was warm for more than a few minutes at a time AND it didn't require me wearing layers to be so. There were blue skies with beautiful shining sun and I reckon it was at least 21 degrees on the Sat it must have been about 24 on the Mon. It was great.

The flight over was uneventful and on arrival we jumped on train to Circular Quay so from airport to 5 min walk from our hotel in 20 mins. Brilliant stuff. Interestingly, the first thing we noticed on leavin the train station was the quality of the air. After the lovely clean air here in Wellington, you could taste the bad air in Sydney. But needless to say, we got used to that pretty quick. Our hotel, was as you might expect, quite luxurious. The room was small but to be honest we were hardly in it and we were on the 24th floor so did get a view of the opera house as we'd hoped for (well it was an Opera View Room).

I know this may seem odd to anybody in Dublin but I was quite taken aback by the price of eating out (and the bad coffee) in Sydney. I guess this is compared to Wellington prices but it did take a bit of getting used to alright! However, the breakfast at least was included in our room and it was beautiful. It was a buffet breakfast but in true Four Seasons style it was fantastic. Fresh fruit (not all mixed together, eg strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, melon etc), bagels, pastries, muffins, about 7 different types of bread, natural yoghurts, smoked salmon, and all the hot food as well. And the scrambled egg wasn't at all bad for buffet eggs! I ate big breakfasts :-)

On the Saturday, after a humungous breakfast, we got the bus up to Paddington to where I used to live and we headed in to the Paddington Markets (which again I used to frequent). It was great to be back there and then wander the boutiques (yeah, I did that one alone). Needless to say I did manage to make a few purchases along the way - a really cute green bag, shoes, shorts, t-shirt... eh, I think that's it! At the Sydney Opera House that evening I was sitting beside this older woman who I heard say, "I can't believe it" a number of times. I actually thought that she was pissed off at me for taking a photo of hte organ and stage (obviously before the concert started!) but it turns out that she literally just couldn't believe she was there and was just a bit excited :-) And just look at that organ... I play the organ but only in a little church. It was really very sweet as she was so genuine. The performances were lovely (all Rachmaninov - conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy) but I particularly enjoyed the last composition though I was so so exhausted that I couldn't wait for it to be over so I could go to sleep! But I still enjoyed it.

Sunday we did the Bondi-Coogee coastal walk. A little crowded (that's an understatment btw) due to the coastal sculpture exhiition that was going on. But it was a great stroll anyway, and exhibition finished by Tamarama Beach so wasn't too bad.

And after that... well we headed back to Paddington for Arthurs Pizza! Yum. Arthur's Pizza has been somewhat refurbished since I was there last but pizza's still as good! I would have loved a meal in Mickey's just up the road but we didn't get back - well not quite next door to where we were staying. That evening we hooked up with Colleen and some other work folk. V enjoyable evening hearing about new life in Sydney. And after my fab sleep the night before I was awake and alert for it and all :-)

Our last day was Mon and we had until about 4pm before we had to collect luggage and head to the airport. So, ferry across to Manly, where in fairness there isn't all that much to do! But wandered down to the beach at the other side of hte peninulsa which is a well known surf beach (apparently) but no good surfers there! Had a lovely lunch of mezza and turkish bread with a rather nice glass of riesling back at the Opera Bar at Opera Quays on our return. Well I had mezze, the rather good fish & chips were had by Dave. I got the "you'll never eat all that" when it arrived to which I retorted "watch me!". Eh... well, I didn't. I couldn't! We spent the rest of hte afternoon in The Domain and Botanical Gardens before heading off to the airport. I could list all we saw in there (including the tree with loads of flying foxes (bats) hanging from trees sleeping! Don't know where I heard/thought that they liked the dark... this was in bright sun light on the hottest day yet! Pretty funky though.

Em... I'm sure there's lots more I could say and of course in a more interesting way but eh, well, I won't! Pictures will be up on flickr on http://www.flickr.com/photos/eefa

At last!

I have my internet connection set up at home! Unfortunately I'm too tired to write anything this evening (plane only landed at midnight last night so it was late to bed!). But soon hopefully :-)

Thursday, 8 November 2007


When we were booking flights for Sydney it seemed like ages away, and yet, suddenly it's not. Flight this afternoon (nearly a 4 hr flight mind you!) and while Australia may be just across "the ditch" it's still a 3hrs 40mins flight! V much looking forward to it however and hopefully not too much rain while there :-)

I'll update next week.. maybe on Tues evening once I successfully connect my new funky little MacBook to my new broadband set up at home!