The Ruru's

T.I.M.E. Habits • Minimalists • Travel Enthusiasts

6/10/19 Mr or Mrs, Clip Round the Ear, or Kick Up the Bum

Who remembers the days of yesteryear when as a kid, you left the house when the street lights were switched off, and then returned home before the street lights were turned on?

They were the good old days of being fed by mates parents; where you called them “Mr so and so” or “Mrs so and so”; and where they were allowed to give you a clip around the ear for being a cheeky little shit or misbehaving that warranted corporal punishment.

We miss those days.

So, today, we decided to re-live part of the past. Or close to it anyways.

South Brighton Spit lies across from Shag Rock on the Sumner side of the estuary. You can cycle there along the north side of the Avon River. It was an open landscape canvas most of the way. Where life once was. And now isn’t.

Apart from bird life.

Following the coast line to enter Bottle Lake Forrest, we re-visted our old caravan site at Spencer Holiday Park. All traces of the Rurus were definitely gone. As were the poplar trees that sheltered us from the Easterly winds.

Leaving the house on the bikes, it was six hours later before we disembarked back at now home.

Still time left before the street lights come on too.

However, no “Mr or Mrs”, clip round the ear or kick up the bums.

We do what we do not to escape life … but for life not to escape us.

Everyone welcome to join us. It’s an open invitation.

4/10/19 A Hapu of Ngāi Tahu

There is a little settlement on the in-side of Lyttelton Harbour called Rapaki. A hapu of Ngāi Tahu.

Having spent the past two days there on the Wheke Marae, what a gorgeous dot on the landscape to attend a Code of Ethics for Youth Work in Aotearoa.

Such an awesome marae style learning way with fellow industry organisations – way smarter and, significantly better outside the class or the board room.

The korero spoken of the marae history; the ‘Te Tiriti o Waitangi’ beginnings, tribulations and present day collaborations; and navigating ethical transparency doing youth work, were informative, welcoming and encouraging.

If you are out and about over bay-side, stop in and check it out.

It’ll strengthen the resolve to protect OUR bi-cultural presence necessity – a code of ethic all New Zealanders and guests of Aotearoa, should be embracing.

5/9/19 Home Visit Tandem Blat

Hah, our sister Awhina was home … on our turf!

To attend a 50th milestone birthday – BClaire’s

What better way for her to remember it by, than by getting her kitted up and take her for a tandem blat on a tandem.

Into Christchurch city, around Hagley Park and return.

Errrrrr, no inbetween pictures because of the torrential pissing down of rain!

Learnt something about her today. She doesn’t like people hoiking spit. Still not after the dozen or so times neither. Happens when one is on the front! Something she learnt, ahem!

Getting drenched, riding through puddles, undulation that vibrates through the arse … quality time spent together.

Hah, and she thought we would just be sitting around!

Now she is nervous about what’s next. After she can walk better and thawed out.

I’m excited.

1/9/19 The Blind Mosquito

When our biking buddy Maree asked if we would like a face mask to use when cycling the Little River Rail Trail from Motukarara to Little River, we thought she was taking the piss.

Often, we see Asian’s wearing them around the cities and wondered if it was because of bad acne. Or to reduce pollution inhalation.

Her warning that the flying bugs would be in hordes along the edges of Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere and Lake Forsyth warranted nostril and mouth entry points coverage. Otherwise, you ain’t gonna need carrot cake or a sausage roll reward from all the protein you would be sucking in.

Jeezus, she was bang on.

The black clouds swarming ahead were like those birds you see on National Geographic documentaries that twist and turn in dark shapes on a sunset evening in the sky. Except our clouds were just hovering from ground to three-five metres on the pathway we were riding along. And into.

By the zillions.

They are called the NZ Midge, or Lake Fly, or the Blind Mosquito because they look like a mossie, except they don’t bite … thankfully.

You felt them hit, they clung onto apparel, skin and hair and we have never in all our time that we have ridden bum on bike seat, ever encountered such an awe of protein like we did today.

The face mask worked … thankfully and we got to munch down cake and roll.

Before we had to repeat the experience to return the same way we had come!

The best of the worst now under out belt. And close to being in every orifice that wasn’t covered up!

9/8/19 Nothing in the world feels particularly necessary when you sit in awe. Or thaw …

To the backbone of the Southern Alps we head.
Towards Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.

Turn right after the Mount Cook airport and the meandering road for about 6 kilometres, takes you to the Tasman Lake within the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park (South Island, New Zealand).

Tasman Glacier … sadly receding.

This proglacial lake is formed by the retreating Tasman Glacier.

Looking down upon the reflective water was just superb. To view the floating bergs from the waters edge, where the clear ice tombed rocks pending melting, just beautiful.

As parts of bergs broke away, they were sucked towards the outlet, to enter a current that would ramble them towards the Pacific Ocean.

This is the true Alps to Ocean beginning and, submerge any part of exposed skin into the liquid, numbness is instantaneous.

The way we see an image depends upon the lens we view the subject through … and nothing in the world feels particularly necessary when you sit in awe.

Or thaw.

Certainly worth the journey.

25/5/19 Topped Off By Twins

All grinned up and ready to set off …

The Mount Somers Track has it all and we would have to rate it as being a fantastic slice of back yard that must be explored.

We had already gone in from the top end to Pinnacles hut; this time, it was from the bottom end to Woolshed Creek Hut.

Accompanying us were newbies to boots, packs, dehydrated food and then subsequent jelly legs, stinky socks and no soap or shampoo for the over night expedition – Mike and Lynn.

Following the Miners Track, remnants of coal mining yesteryear lay at peace. An old miners hat, shovel and horse dray hung from the entrance to an old mine shaft. The landscape in parts was artificial from the dredging of earth from deep inside the old hole.

Blackburn Mine Entrance
Head lights of yesteryear.

You would think that the foot hills would be the beginning of the Alps however, as we gained altitude to look towards the western horizon, it opened up into a sparseness of brown hinterland. Quite remarkable.

Reaching the hut took under a couple of hours. Lot’s of stops for newbies to wear in their bodies. Mental state too.

Tomorrows pathway.
Woolshed Creek Hut awaits us …
Looking East.
Owwww, a puddle with frozen ice still!
Woolshed Creek Hut

Woolshed Creek Hut sleeps 26 and being first to arrive meant the pick of the bunks; the choice of seating and with ear muffs positioned strategically, other comers choosing to fill up the other bunk room first! We were also in control of the wood burner and as the sun dipped below the crest – it was roaring to the brim with flame and wood.

As did the hut eventually become, full to the brim. Oldies, youngies, locals, internationals, a cacophony of chorus huddling around flame lit candles – shadows dancing on the hut walls. And the best way to meet like minded travellers.

As we were the first to arrive, we were the last to depart, taking the Mt Somers Track to meet up with the Rhyolite Track. That’s the part where ‘jelly legs’ became the result as we ascended more to see the coal mine from the day before somewhat way below! Notwithstanding, the views under the huff and puff, spectacular.

The decent had some technical aspects to it to and the wind along the ridgeline meant holding onto your cap. Follow the orange markers is enjoyment. Lose one and go over the sides, that’s a different type of enjoyment.

Woolshed Creek Hut, Mt Somers – tick.
Max load – one person.
As we ascended, the hut became a dot …
The Bus Shelter …
To be challenged is to use all your senses in balance.
Back at the bottom …

Arriving at the car to a flat tyre well, who the hell invented space saver rubber when you have a heap of kms to retrace back to the flatland treadmill!

It didn’t take away how the weekend was made special with meeting the Topp Twins at the Stavely Cafe on the way to the tramp. Jools and Lynda are two iconic folk singing treasures, having entertained NZ’ers for over 30 years. They were on the road doing another tour, both in their sixties and humping a trailer with a square tin shaped box as their abode. It was a mansion compared to the womb they once shared, as the conversation went.

Right time, right place.

The Topp Twins.

Righty, onto the next micro-adventure.

Hoping Mike and Lynn are still speaking with us!

16/3/19 We are family …

A message came through that our nephew had been out on his mountain bike for a blat – from his home, around Bottle Lake Plantation and return, a good 30 odd kms ridden.

We had never shared the landscape from a bike seat together so, it was an easy text inviting him to come join us on a little mountain bike ride we were planning on escaping to do.

Called ‘The Big River Hut’ trail, it’s hidden up the back drops of Reefton. We had partly explored it when we visited Reefton last November. Up as far as the accessible road went by car. Beyond that, it was 4 wheel drive terrain. Or mountain bike.

The events that unfolded on the day before with the loss of 50 innocent fellow beings was a numbing emotion. We had to ride out the lock down environment and, certainly contemplated not going.

But we did, driving out of a city hurting to arrive in Reefton after everyone had gone to bed. The first place to have electricity was ablaze with light. But eeriely slient.

Starting out, the cloud’s above wept.

Let’s just see how far we can get today. Out of Reefton, left onto Soldier Road, tar seal became gravel road, gradual incline, moisture under the rain jackets, passed the car park we had once before visited to explore another walking track, to then navigate and negotiate our rubber tyres on the lumpy and bumpy trail.

3 and a 1/2 hours later, we stopped to rest and feed proper, still having pushed the bodies … certainly the bikes, inland more. The weather was kind, then not, then kind again, then not. We had no idea how far off the Big River Hut was, and a wandering Weka came so close the see the hazel of it’s eyes, to inquire as to how we were doing to then wish us a ‘good day’ as we made the decision to back track out, the same way we had came.

Deagan down hills so to watch him jump and skid and echo the odd word of I think nearly crashing off, added the coolness of him being out in our environment on a non-powered machine. We had escaped, explored, enjoyed to escape the unfolding life we had left the night before.

Times like these are important to remember loved ones near and afar. Regardless the ethnicity, colour, religion, culture, values or beliefs … we can be just one happy family.

More significantly, spend some ‘presence’ time with them. Like we had, with our nephew.

Love to you all, where ever you are on the one planet we share.


6/3/19 Scourging Freeloaders

There is one word to describe a community of free loaders – absolute scourge.

Okay, that’s two words!

Not thinking, we didn’t pack the gaiters. Too excited in thought of trekking up to a hut to stay for the night.

It was just a stunner of a day so dress attire was shorts. This exposed the hairy legs between the short hem line and the woollen socks worn with the boots. Not for Claire, she had shaven. Not above the knees though.

Anyway, a type of fauna has decided it’s time to shed its seedlings; and the trail was escorted with the stuff. Except, they don’t just release when there is a breeze. They choose to hook onto anything passing that rubs up against the protruding plant fronds.

When the first freeloading seedling attached itself to a hairy part of the leg, I felt it and automatically bent down to pull it off. The little sh.t hung on whereby a hair follicle root came out with the pull. That’s what it felt like. Similar to being waxed. I know what that feels like, I’ve been waxed too however, that’s another story!

So, when a bunch of these free loading seedlings made the jump simultaneously to bare skin, the agony when pulling off was twenty-fold. Absolute scourge of a plant.

And just to clarify, dress attire did include upper body and under garment apparel.

As for the Pinnacle Hut micro-adventure … absolutely beautiful. Worth doing.

Shave first, wear gaiters or long pants.

24/2/19 Crunch … “Ops”

Biking the tar seal road from Little River up to the Hill Top has always teased us as something we should have a crack at doing.

It’s been the one obstacle to us cycling over to Akaroa and pitch the canvas for a night. Altitude and elevation conjure up grind and panting emotions. More so the latter as we mature towards senior citizenship.

Notwithstanding, we have mates who are our elk and have done it. So, yesterday we drove to Little River, parked up the car, donned on the vests and helmets and off we cycled – destination, the Hill Top.

We take turns at being out in front so when the words “Ops” was spoken from BClaire behind, I knew exactly what she had done.

Now, the road from one side to the other measures about 6-8 metres. A white line straddles each edge. We tend to ride on the right-hand side (on the left side of the road) of the white line to minimize riding over debris or crap between the white line and edge of the tar seal.

Road kill can be avoided. You see it coming and can manoeuvre around.

But the poor little innocent Cicada that decided to stop and park up on the right side of the white line to rest it’s sound of spousal song, just a defenceless critter minding its own business … well, that was the “Ops” spoken from BClaire behind.

Snuffing it. The crunch came before.

Apparently by accident. Apparently, she tried to avoid it and squashed it with her back wheel.

The Hill Top view was as close to heaven we got. Not so for the Cicada.

RIP little fella.

3/2/19 St James Mountain Bike Micro-Adventure

From the St James Homestead to Scotties Hut is approx. 17 kms one way, on the St James Cycle Trail.

Quite a baron part of the back bone alive with pink flowered thistles that buzzed with bumbles.

Not a bad little jaunt to a tin shed that sleeps four. Extremely hot conditions made for the plough through some streams refreshing on the return journey.

Oh, the decent down from Pete’s Pass can result in skidding with feet as second anchors! The climb back up in reverse can cause a sweat on the fore-head.

Some heavy breathing and the odd swear word when one starts to skid backwards too.

Worth a soak in the Hanmer Springs hot pools after.

Take soap.

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