Sunday, 31 August 2008

It all went okay :)

Seems that I didn't pack too much (not clothes anyway) nor too little. I had a wonderful tramp with some of the best weather we've had in ages (i.e. it didn't rain!). Our weekend tramp started Camp Kaitoke where we took a track that let us join up with the Dobson Track. From there we walked along the Dobson Track before doing a relatively steep descent down to Smith Creek Shelter. Ordinarily when doing this walk you can go over Buffer Saddle and walk along Smith Creek to get to Smith Creek Shelter (shorter route) but due to all the tree fall DOC had closed that portion of the track. We ate a much enjoyed lunch by Smith Creek once we got to the bottom. The rest of walk consisted of a stream crossing (we ain't talking an Irish stream here... this was feet in water lark) which I thought had a relatively strong flow but I knew that by Kiwi standards it wasn't strong at all!
Marchant Stream Crossing

Once we'd crossed there we walked on a bit before I stopped to wring out my socks. Admittedly boots and feet still wet but the wringing out business does mean that you're not sloshing in boots and that makes a big difference! I had a near miss at one point where I stepped in to some seriously icky mood (there was lots of that but not all of it was deep) but luckily I managed to avoid falling over. It was close though! Lots more walking in water (but on for 2 or 3 steps) and I practised my long strides to try to completely avoid some some water where possible; not as easy as it sounds to do and keep balance when pack on back! We got to Tutuwai at 4:45pm yesterday afternoon which was about 6.5 hours after we set out so not bad.
Tutuwai Hut

I knew the return journey today was going to be harder as there would be the climb up to the Dobson track and of course because I was just a bit sorer (hip bones, ankle bones this morning though right now it's that plus right shoulder and my lower back is quite sore to the touch too). So, we had an early night last night. I listened to some Podcasts and Amanda read for a while. I have to admit the latter surprised me as she's so careful about weight in her pack but I can see how/why a book is important. But by about 8pm it was "torches out" for the night. Actually I wasn't nearly as sleepy as I expected to be but knew we'd be up early and I was getting cold. So I slept in two pairs of thermal long johns, two polyprop tops, a scarf and a had though the latter came off during the night! Fashion or appearances do not count on tramps, trust me :) Lots of waking up but at least i wasn't too cold (we reckon it hit about zero last night as there was lots of frost about this morning).

We were on the track by 7:45 though there was about a 10 min delay at our first stream crossing (Irish stream size) while we figured out how to get my camel pak bladder out of the container so I could dip it in stream to fill it up. It was a beautiful clear day but very cold; long johns on under shorts and gloves and I had my fleece on for about 45 minutes which surprised me. Again the views of the stream/river were just gorgeous. So many lovely trees, rocks... it's a beautiful area. The climb up to Dobson track (a number of hours later) took us about 1.25 hours with two 10 min breaks. I have to say that I did find this hard as I'm much slower going uphill and it's not just straight walk up it's lots of clambering over roots or using roots as steps to get up so it was relatively steep. I tried to look on positive side doing this which is that my long legs (don't think of them as that long!) allowed me to manage this easier than a shorter person. I also do believe that the climbing helped here (as it did at lots of other stages) as instead of just seeing a steep bank and going "how do I do this?" I look for places for my feet and trust myself to lever myself up.

Beautiful sun at the top; I actually went down to a t-shirt (actually I did that during the climb) and a sun hat. Funnily though I remembered the walk from here back to Camp Kaitoke (over 2 hours) from yesterday as being easy track... none of that at all! I guess I was in the first few hours of the tramp yesterday when doing this so I didn't find it hard whereas today it was just a little more difficult as I was definitely tired by now!
Me at Fan Stream

Anyway, it was a fantastic weekend and it was great to get outside and not be rained on. Amanda, after having me lead for the whole walk so the pace was one I would be comfortable with, can now ready herself for a proper fast fit tramp in a few weekends. I expect to be a little sore tomorrow morning!

I managed to get some photos yesterday but I guess I should have recharged my camera battery so none from today (when it was a much brighter day). And for those of you interested, there are more photos on flickr.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Too much, too little or just enough?

It's Fri evening and I'm definitely in the "have I got enough/too little clothes/food combined with will I really be able to keep walking with big pack for up to 7 hours? Have I enough warm clothes?" phase of packing for a tramp. I'm heading off in the morning with my climbing buddy Amanda to Tutuwai Hut from Ranch Rd end. As in the climbing she is significantly more advanced than me and would even say herself that she is currently very fit and very strong. I'm not. Fit or strong. But she knows that so I'm sure it'll be cool. Won't it?

Will update on Sun evening or some time next week. Wish me luck...

Thursday, 28 August 2008

It's looking good!

I did a good climb this evening and I'm happy :) It was one of those days where I didn't even know if I'd go as I hadn't been feeling the best but I reckoned I could do at least one climb and if nothing else I was fine for belaying for Amanda. My warm up climb was not good; ended up on the easy climb that i haven't done for ages and well I got nervous! I didn't quite know where to go or how to do the climb. It was awful! For my next climb I did that yellow grade 15 that I've only managed once before and I got it. It was hard but I got there so I felt much better when I got down. And the big news is that I completed my challenge wall this evening. For weeks and weeks I've been getting closer and closer and today I managed it. At one point my hand was about half a foot away from ceiling beam but I just couldn't reach it. I nearly cried 'cos I realised i was just going to have to get higher to touch it... but managed it in the end. So all good.

Planning to go tramping this weekend with Amanda and for my first weekend away in months the forecast is *not* rain. There's definitely a spring feeling in the air this week... it's all good :)

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Colours...

I'm struggling with colours these days:( Chances are nobody's noticed but I've changed the colours on my blog about 4 times in the last 2 or 3 days and I'm still not convinced with what I've got. But I do have to thank COLOURlovers for the different colour palates that I have been experimenting with. Current palate is Terra?. For anybody interested in colours then I recommend you go have a nose at this site :)

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Guess it had to happen

I went climbing last Thurs with Amanda. It turns out that what with me canceling a few weeks back after no sleep the night before and Amanda having to cancel the following after hurting her feet, it had been almost 3 weeks since we'd climbed. And my God did it show! The place was very busy so my warm up climb was on my challenge wall; admittedly I did get further than I've got before but it totally took it out out of my arms! From my elbows to tips of my fingers I felt like every little bit of strength which had been there (and that wasn't much to begin with :) ) had been sapped on that climb. For my second climb I got about 80% of the way up and couldn't get any further. I tried three times falling on each attempt so gave up at that point. For my third climb I started on that grade 15 I managed for the first time on my previous climb. I didn't get very far... on either attempt. So last Thursday I didn't manage to complete a single climb!!! Here's hoping I'm more successful next Thursday :)

You learn something new every day!

Okay, so I don't know if this is literally true but it certainly was true yesterday. What we learnt yesterday (actually we learnt a few things!) is that when your 4WD gets bogged down in sand and decides it ain't going anywhere, then letting the air out of your tyres should be enough to allow you get back in to car and drive it back to solid ground! Seriously! {well obviously a little digging of sand away from wheels helps too}

Yesterday we headed out to Owhiro Bay and did a little 4 wheel driving. On the way back there were a fair few pedestrians so we drove down on to sand (well there were plenty of other tyre marks there indicating other cars had done the same) and at one point I thought we were going to get stuck but then we started to make progress but unfortunatley not for long. Within a few minutes you could rev the engine all you wanted but the car sure as hell wasn't going anywhere! We got out of the car and I have to admit I was surprised to see how bogged down in the sand we were. We started to walk back in the hope of getting help. My biggest concern was that the car was only about 3 metres away from the water so we didn't really have much time. But totally no need to fret as as we stopped a red 4wd to ask them if they could help and it was this guy who came out with the tip about letting the air out of the tyres. We started to walk back to car and before I knew it this complete stranger was down helping us. Then I realised that other guys were walking towards us with tow ropes. There was no "hi, what's up?" (well that bit was obvious actually) or even asking if they could help, nope they just started hooking up the tow rope to tow us out. But we got air out of tyres first and then red jeep stranger jumps in and drives the Bighorn back up to hard ground. The other two take off their tow rope, jump in to their jeep and drive off... as does our helper. I couldn't get over how, within half an hour of us being stranded we were back on solid ground all thanks to three complete strangers who start helping us without actually being asked.

So there we were, safe from the water. With 4 flat tyres. Luckily there was a bicycle pump in back of jeep so, eh, well, that's how we got enough air back in the tyres to allow us to drive out and off to a service station. Certainly made for an interesting afternoon... the glass of wine with yummy mushroom gnocci in The Lido was much needed by time we got back to Wellington :)

Sunday, 17 August 2008

We could always walk...

Yesterday was a lovely day with lots of sunshine and a nice little bite in the air. We were planning on going to see 4 - Vivaldi Four Seasons at 3:30pm in the Penthouse in Brooklyn. I'm thinking that I'd love to get a bit of a walk in at some that day. About 1:30 it's suggested that we could maybe walk up to the cinema. My initial reaction something along the lines of, "Oh, right, isn't that quite a long walk?" I'm informed that it's probably 30-40 mins which I have no problem with but I'm reckoning it's actually closer to an hour. So after a bit of toing and froing we check timing for the walk on google. This indicates walk is about 32 minutes so I'm cool with that.

So, we head off at 2 to allow time for some food in the Cafe there. Before long I'm down to a t-shirt as the sun was so lovely. And turns out that I'm so so wrong with the timing... we were at the cinema within 25 minutes! So that left lots of time for our lunch. During lunch there's a bit of a joke made about "imagine if all the tickets were sold out when we went to buy ours". Ha ha, like that's going to happen with a 3:30pm showing of a non-mainstream movie. As we have some time to spare we fill it by eating some seriously rich chocolate brownie and then we head out to counter to buy our tickets. Unbelievably there are only four seats left... for the front row!! I hesitate as I really don't want to sit in the front row and while that's happening some guy goes up and buys three tickets. So, there you go, you never can tell what'll sell out, can you?!

Friday, 15 August 2008

We are not happy...

I like Lyric FM. I particularly like listening to Sunday's edition of Gloria at work on a Mon morning. Unfortunately I will not be doing this for the next few weeks (how long do these Olympics go on for??) http://www.rte.ie/lyricfm/pressreleases/1220688.html

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Em.. six unusual things...

Well I've been tagged by the circus controller to list six unusual facts about myself. So...

1. I find it really hard to this "write X things about me" stuff!
2. I find it quite difficult to make decisions...
3. I've been put on too much weight since moving to New Zealand
4. Most of the time I can only drink one coffee per day as any more makes my eyes sore... oh and I have to eat within hour or two if drinking caffeine (even diet coke)
5. I'm actually enjoying doing my indoor wall climbing :)
6. It's quite normal for me to be wearing 2 or 3 layers of clothing when everybody else in the room is only wearing 1.

Oh and I'll tag Sonya in the Sun now...

Monday, 11 August 2008

A Lazy Saturday...

So while the weekend started over somewhat, (read very) cold, I had a wonderful and much needed, lazy Saturday. There was a very slow start as it was bitterly cold outside and I wasn't getting out of bed until the surrounding air temperature was well past the 10 degrees that it was when I woke up!

So, a number of hours later it was up and out to brunch/lunch and some gentle browsing around town before we get the cable car up to the Botanic Gardens. Because, even though it was bitterly cold (and I was well cold) it was a lovely sunny day (at least when we headed up to gardens). At the top there was a lovely view out over the city.


After taking a few pics we wandered in to the Cable Car museum; I thought that this was going to be a quick 10 min wander around but I reckon we spent a good half hour in there! V interesting actually! They had a wonderful 100 year old cable car that you're able to not only touch but actually get in to. Brilliant :)




The aim after that had been to go for a stroll through the gardens but it was so so cold and then it started to rain so we ended up heading back to a warm flat where (in fairness about 4pm by this stage) where I spent the next few hours lazing stretched out on the couch inside a winter down feather sleeping with heat on full blast... and reading Dracula. Rest of the evening was well chilled will some wine, Indian take away and one of those Bourne movies (the second one) which I hadn't actually seen before... and really quite enjoyed :)

As this is possibly one of the coldest weekends I've experienced here, it was definitely a double duvet night!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Make it stop...

At the end of a relatively intense and very busy week at work I reckoned that the best way to start trying to wind down for the weekend would be to go see a silly movie, and I felt that Mamma Mia might just be the one that could achieve that.

I listen to Mark Kermode's weekly movie review podcast and I couldn't wait to hear his review of this film a while back. Needless to say he pointed out how badly directed it is, plot is non existent (my words not his), how Pierce Brosnan can't sing and Colin Firth can't dance. However, what sold this film for me was the fact that it is apparently so bad it's brilliant! So, on Fri evening we pottered along to the Penthouse to watch this. I was relatively sure that I'd end up enjoying it but I did have some concern for my movie viewing companion. So the film starts and the initial reunion scenes are excrutiatingly bad. I mean awful. Horrendous. But you know, some of the songs are amusing and after a while I'm starting to enjoy it. Then, during the song, Dancing Queen when Meryl Streep is dancing/singing across island and all the women drop their burdens and join in, I quietly hear the words "make it stop" whispered beside me. And what was my sympathetic response to this? I just started laughing uncontrollably! I tried once or twice to say something kindly to try to soothe battered ears but I couldn't get words out as I couldn't stop laughing. By the end of the scene I had tears rolling down my face!

Anyway, for anybody thinking of going to see this film, DO IT! It is truely awful and as a result very funny. It's the three blokes who make the film for me though... can't say I thought that any of the women seemed to relax in to their roles... or maybe it's just that the dialogue they had was so awful I don't know. But I highly recommend going to see Mamma Mia.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

The weekend

I was pretty exhausted by the time I got Friday evening. It was a fairly intense week at the office though not necessarily a bad week. Just busy. Our company has a new office in Wellington so we had our monthly meeting there seeing it furnished for the first time and having a little drink before I left by 5:30.


I viewed a couple more apartments on Fri but thinking that I might just stay where I am for another 6 months. It's a good location and I do like my kitchen here :) Fri evening after dinner (with some gorgeous French Comte cheese :) ) we watched Borat. Admittedly Borat is not a movie I've been jumping up and down with excitement to watch but I felt I should watch 10 or so mins before continuing to diss it. Sort of ended up watching it all (bar the last 10 mins or so) but it was more in a state of "is this for real?", "surely it gets better", before I realised that, well, I just don't get it. I smiled in one or two places but I can't say that I find it particularly funny but I know that it's because, as I said, I just don't get it!

Sat morning I checked out a 2 bed house but as I'd been warned, Aro Street just doesn't really get winter sun because of the hills (well it is in Aro Valley) and it was cold in there! It looked nice in the photos which is why I went for a nose but I guess after hearing from my climbing partner that mould grew on her clothes while she lived there as the house was so damp, that I was somewhat wary going to view! Watched another couple of episodes of the Long Wary Around (while enjoying a rather delicious bottle of Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir). It really is a fantastic series and the journey through Mongolia and along the Road of Bones in far Eastern Europe looks so so difficult! The bikes are holding up great as well!!

Nice chilled slow start to the day today which was lovely. Horrible forecast for the day so I made arrangements to go climbing at 4pm with Amanda in Fergs. We headed out to Jackson St in Petone and found a whole bunch of great looking cafes. Definitely heading back there. We drove out to the coast and it was lovely out there. Definitely picnic in spring/summer location. Don't get me wrong, this was not a sandy attractive beach at all (no golden sand or the likes) but the water is just beautiful there and we could see the Sth Island in the distance. Anyway the forecast was so wrong as it turned out to be a beautiful day! Not hot but relatively mild and very sunny. Could have headed off early for a walk this morning if we'd know that! But not to worry.. I headed down to Fergs a little early as I decided to buy my own climbing shoes. It's only $3 a time to rent them but as they're rented I always had to wear socks and they were a little wide. So I now own my own shoes... and didn't need to wear socks. Have to admit that they're bloody uncomfortable except for when I'm climbing. Walking between climbs not nice and I was well happy to take them off at the end of it all :)
Climbing Shoes.JPG
And with them I did 5 climbs (only completed 3 of them) but one of those was a grade 15... haven't done a 15 before! Had a go on my challenge wall but it was my last climb and while I got further than before my arms, me, was just too tired to manage it (remember I haven't completed this wall before).

And now I'm having a lazy chilled Sunday evening :)