Escape • Explore • Enjoy • Exist

While the bodies still can and we still have our marbles!

Month: July 2017

23/7/17 It certainly wasn’t English swear words we know!

The buckets from above subsided … the grey matter broke open to reveal blue … it was an opportunity to head to some higher ground.

Another back yard experience to get elevation, this time on the Canterbury Port Hills and a little meander up Rapaki Track.

Calmbering over a slip on the pathway quite entertaining as fellow trailers negotiated the solid bits to be tricked and sink knee high in the sludgey mud.

We smiled at a number of people leaving their indent. Everyone else was too!

The panoramic 360 degree views from the rock face beyond the turnaround point was worth the extra steps up.

Full credit to the little Japanese girl who stood for ages pondering whether to go for it on the slip. It was halarious when I counted 3-2-1 and shouted ‘go’ to have her step off and go both knees deep. We turned around and quickly sped down the hillside not looking back.

I can still see her screaming as I had no idea what the hell she was saying.

It certainly wasn’t English swear words we know!

15/7/17 Arrrrrrrreeeeeeeeooooooooyyyyyyyeeeeeehhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeee

The snow was over knee deep in places.

Disaster when your gumboots only came up your lower leg half way meaning the white powdery stuff broke off like an Antartic ice berg to drop into your galoshes.  It didn’t take much longer for it to become liquified.  Even the thickest of socks weren’t enough to protect the cold moisture nipping at your toes and the soles of your feet.

Laughter was frequent for the short arse in the party.  Alannah’s step had the snow just about touch her butt cheeks.  We took shorter steps to help.  Every now and then, the undulation beneath meant a face plant.  Laughter was then shared.From a distance, the slope to be conquered looked shallow.  At the bottom, the paradigm as was sharper with steepness.  However, this didn’t deter.  Up we stepped using the footprints left behind by other adventurers seeking the same adrenalin of sliding back down.

As altitude was reached, a cool wind whipped from left to right.  The sun beaming down in the cloudless sky did nothing to warm.  It did however, make the landscape crisp as far as the eye could see.  It was absolutely stunning to see the back bone of the South Island carpeted with snow.

Hordes of like-minded beings had made the most of what mother nature had dumped to create a play-ground so natural and free – there were little specs of bodies in all directions.  It was fun to watch from above the number of people who ventured out onto the frozen ice of the lake below.  As confidence grew, further out toward the middle they wearily trod.  No one plunged through during our observation.There was no paper, scissors nor rock as to who would go first.  Pick on the big guy!

As one looked down sitting on their toboggan moments before the grasp of the handle tightened and the feet lifted so gravity did its thing (nothing to do with a share slope at all, yeah right), you were zoned into the reality of what was.

This could either go tits up or plain sliding to the bottom.

A deep breath, a pause, and then feet lifted.

There was no yodelling ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’, that’s for certain.

Some might describe it as a scream.  Whatever it was.  It just was.


9/7/17 One Expected A Bear to Appear – Washpen Falls

We had seen the giants before in British Columbia, Canada. The goliath Douglas Fir tree.  They were competing for supremacy over the Radiata Pine tree and, the Southern Rata tree which is one of New Zealand’s showiest and most beautiful of native plants when in blossom.

Even the largest lily in the world contested the landscape, the Tikouka.  Commonly known as the Cabbage Tree, early European settlers used the hollowed-out trunks for chimneys for their huts.  On the other hand, the dead leaves of cabbage trees burn readily, giving off intense heat.  People either hate them or they love them.  There is no in-between.

In the thick of either forest as the trail meandered from sea level elevation and back, one expected a bear to appear.  But this wasn’t Canada.  This was the headwaters of the Washpen Creek which is the longest tributary of the Hororata River.

The canopy was alive in song from the Bellbird.  Their notes echoed throughout the gorge which reminded us of a call to prayer in surround sound.  Fantails and sometimes the infrequent flit of a Tomtit guided us on the path trodden.  The same earth once used by Maori to trap and kill the giant flightless New Zealand bird, the Moa.  Some species grew to three metres and once an important source of food, they were all eaten as they have been extinct for three or four hundred years.

Erosion too carved out the rock into wave breaking shape formations.  Tree seeds can prosper in the slightest of soil.  This was evident with shades of green disrupting brown rock cliff faces.

The Bluff lookout allows for one to view the Canterbury Plains, 250 kms in length and an average of 60 kms in width.  The Rakaia River streaks across the flatlands.  The Washpen Falls would contribute to the water level somehow.


A place in history where sheep once tarzan swung into the stream to wash the wool before shorn.

That past time has long gone as well.  Go see for yourself.  The breath of fresh air above the giants is exhilarating.