The Rurus

Adventure Before Dementia

Category: Minimalism (page 1 of 18)

10/2/18 Never Before Have We Experienced Such: Lake Daniells Tramp

As soon as we opened the car door at Marble Hill, the bastards started nipping to suck blood! Sandflies. The race to smoother 80% deet insect repellent over exposed skin was on. Mandy lost in receiving the greater number of welts amongst the four of us. Swore the most too, ahem!

We were 5kms east of Springs Junction toward the Lewis Pass, at the start of an 8.4 km tramp into Lake Daniell for the night.

For BClaire & I, it is one of our favourites to take novice trampers on so they can be introduced to the world of getting lost on the landscape by foot. Carrying your life. We laugh with the newbies, not at them. We do that when they are out of sight and the beauty about this track is that it it nigh impossible to get lost on.

Except for the young fella who did back in 2002 and they found his body near the Alfred River. He was 14.

This was a practice tramp as well because in a couple of weeks, Mandy and Andy with Tin and Lisa are off on another little ‘Ruru’ adventure together. Tin and Lisa weren’t able to participate in this one as they are on a beach somewhere in the Pacific!

Anyway, off we stepped and the Sluice Box where you cross a cravass looked invitingly stunning. It was only five minutes into the walk and too early to get naked. The lake at the end is okay to skinny dip in after dropping the packs so onward the team progressed.

The 50 shades of green beech forest was alive with bird song – whether the Fantail, the Robin, the Bell bird and the like. So too was there the hum of wasps. We tend to respect each others personal space so as not to encounter confrontation.

The fauna was just beautiful as sunlight beamed down through the canopy. Old man’s beard translucent and the ground covered moss spongy like the softest mattress you could imagine. Stop starting is common to new comers to rest body parts newly discovered or rusty from lack of use. Whatever the reason, it’s about taking the time to take in the surrounds.

We arrived at the Manson Nicholls Memorial Hut to day walkers eating lunch or drying off from a swim. Once they departed, apparel was shed and into the lake we plunged to cool off and wash the sweat grime off. Heads kept above water as the lake sadly was slimey underfoot. It didn’t deter us from immersing the rest of the body.

No other trampers arrived, never before have we experienced such ever, to have a hut (sleeps 24) to ourselves. Andy lit the fire (even though it is was still hot and humid outside) … it was like a kid having a new toy for the very first time. As the light faded over a game of cards, the discussion turned to spooky stories cunjuring up Jason from Friday the 13th type fears that had us huddle. The snap of the branch and a gun shot echo didn’t help neither. Those of us who were awake most of the night – Mandy, BClaire and me had Andy’s snoring to contend with. It would’ve scared any monster who lurked beyond the hut walls away!

Rain arrived during the night and it was a lazy start tracing our footsteps from the day before. Poncho’s snailed in unison; the Alfred River and Sluice Box also up above the day before’s water mark. A stop in at Hanmer to soak the bones at the hot pools, well deserved.

There is no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this and, to experience it with a couple of novices made the adventure magical.

And the next ‘Ruru’ adventure before dementia with Mandy, Andy, Tin and Lisa … google Mueller Hut!

A mare 2,200 steps give or take a couple. Up.

20/1/18 – Purau Bay, Lyttelton Harbour

Instead of tandem biking around the water, why not end up in it?

And so we did.

Was much cooler, that’s for sure!  Especially as the mercury crept up to the 30 degrees celcius.

With our mates Randall and Maree, we wound up at Purau for an impromptu picnic, sunning, swim and paddle.

Found a boat named ‘Ruru’. Could do with a little tender loving care.

More significantly, moored in the bay was the yacht ‘Chieftain’ that I helped sail around the South Island with a couple of old fella’s Wayne and Max.  I wonder if my message in the bottle has washed up somewhere yet?!

A day where best intentions got reversed and then revised that was certainly more refreshing.

Ya gotta love this country.

29/12/17 – Angelus Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park: Robert

The bunk room rustle is the trekkers rooster ‘cockadoodledoo’ squawk. After the first one starts, it isn’t long before another, then another.

Except a couple of us had already snuck out under the cover of darkness to experience sunrise.

It’s always been a thing to get up to watch the yellow ball appear beyond an horizon as a habit. It means you have survived to live another day and therefore, you had better make the most of it if it was to be your last! And by crickey, you had better be doing something you love doing if it is.

There were some moments following the Robert Ridge Route rocky sections whereby one quarter of an inch step to the left or right and over you would have gone! The same for not placing your footing on permanent terrafirma!

The flip side when the head looked up, the panoramic three sixty degree view. It allowed for the heart rate to settle before navigating a next part of Robert.  Most importantly, if this was to be our last moments on the planet, then we had already arrived at heaven. It was just spectacular.

The trail snail tracked down and dishing out a ‘Kia Ora’ salutation allowed those making their way up to make eye contact. The eyes told a story and you knew even though they were hurting, the reward at the end would worth the effort and energy expended. Persons older then us gave us peace of mind that perhaps there mayby a second time to watch sunrise from the Angelus Hut again. Perhaps.

Diverting right at a junction to take in the view of Lake Rotoiti was a bonus; the descent grade burned the thighs but by now, the taste of a melting paddle pop ice block at the end kept the legs on auto-pilot.

The Department of Conservation brochure reads: You must be fit enough to walk for 2-3 days, up to 12.2 kms for 6 hours per day and climb to1,800 m. You must be comfortable on rough terrain and without a fear of heights.’

Our summation is whether an overnight hump into where giant monster eels reside; or ascending four or so football fields to watch another day arrive; or catching up with Robert – it’s up there as being an adventure before dementia one should attempt to tick off.

And certainly before your last day.

6/8/17 The Rakaia Gorge Walking Track – Abandoned

As we departed west toward the Southern Alps, the weather was a balmy sunny morning.  Not a candyfloss cloud in the sky.

However, isobars on the Aussie side of the Alps were completely opposite with heavy rain.  Not the candyfloss type of clouds neither.

The Rakaia Gorge Track was in no man’s land.  As we started the 10 odd kilometre walk, sunshine.  Just 3 kilometres inland, driving rain has us cowering under vegetation canopy.  The wind picked up too giving caution to it being hypothermic possibilities.

It made for the track to become rivers of mud.  Bets were made as to who would ‘arse up’ first.  Staying on the track was paramount as a slide down into the Rakaia River would have been a drenching for sure.  Fortunately, no one did.

The decision to retrace our imprints and abandon the adventure was unanimous.

Once down on the grey whacky shingle bed looking back toward the bridges that connected the Inland Scenic Route, we were back in the rays and it didn’t take long to dry out.

Munching down our sammies overlooking the Rakaia River from the camp ground made pleasant.

Bell birds sang.  Rabbits hopped.  Jet boats jetted.  The girls gaggled.

In-between the munching of course!

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.

“Arrrrrrrreeeeeeeeooooooooyyyyyyyeeeeeehhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeee”

21/6/17 Find Your Purpose …

Training has started with a blat on the Fatty 29 tandem last Saturday and a blat on the mountain bikes on the Sunday.

It’s been a while since butts rode in tandem … all the technique was still there, yay!

And what better way to be inspired when we stopped for a rest, to be reminded of why we do the adventuring before dementia!

Sunday, minus 2 degrees celcius … the smiles say it all.

Find your purpose, your ‘why’ … and magnetise towards that.  Plus 4 degrees in the sun was enough to magnetise toward, ahem!

30/4/17 Becoming an Orphan

On the 31st March 2017, my father passed.

I became an ‘orphan’.

It’s been a long tough year and a bit.

We had been at peace with him closing his eyes for a wee while as the quality of his life had degenerated to being bed ridden most days or on a good day, propped up-right in a lounger with head hung down toward his chest, asleep.  Sadly, dementia is a terrible existence to have to bare witness to.

The heartfelt gratefulness toward the nurses, doctors and more so my Step-Mum Margaret whom provided for my Dad in the most exemplary manner right up till the shut eye is solace to know that they would have helped with his happily ever after, where ever that may be.

Actually, I do know.  It’s on a hillside overlooking the Koukourarata (Port Levy) harbour on Banks Peninsula.  I helped dig the grave.  I also helped my older brother David with getting out when he couldn’t from the depths after his turn at digging!  Hah, I had his back.  Or more like a foot hold!

The spot is tranquil, serene and my Dad’s Tūrangawaewae – his place to stand.  Or now, his place to rest.

The beauty of such an event was the coming together of family to celebrate his life.  Especially those young nephew and niece family members that were just face book relationships and whom I never knew personally.  A dysfunctional family does that.  So too a sibling with issues who carries a pet rock, unfortunately.

Nonetheless, stories of yesteryear flowed.  Bad and good.  Whether a tear of sadness or a tear of laughter.  Reflective and re-framing.  Noses rubbed.  Some rubbed off!  Certainly, a transitional experience.

My extraordinary memory will forever be the fortunate experience of sharing a tandem with my Dad.  Watching him hobble (he had had five hip replacements so was lop-sided) down to the ebbing waves on the shores of Sumner Beach on the east coast of the South Island; to then rotate the pedals across the flatlands of the Canterbury Plains; to free wheel the down-hill sections of the South Island Alps backbone to the shores of Greymouth with the might of the Tasman Sea on the West Coast.

Made priceless with him telling one and all that he had cycled the ‘Coast to Coast’ when in fact, he rode what he pushed himself to do and then we threw the bike on the back of the van to drive some way’s up the road to then have another session of staying upright.  Probably only 30 kms all up!

My Dad once gave me a ‘pounamu’ pennant that had an imprint of an Owl inscribed into the greenstone.  In Maori our name ‘Ruru’ means Morepork which is a native New Zealand Owl.  Before I gave the same pennant to my daughter Claire on her 21st birthday, I had the exact imprint tattooed on my right arm.

Being a minimalist, the tattoo has more personal depth to remember him by as our adventures to explore the planet will continue, eventually.  Better than anything materialistic such as a medal or a wooden stick.

And, made extra significant when my son Cameron, daughter Claire, older brother David and his wife Janice, nephew Morgan Moa and niece Rebecca Moa too followed suit and had a similar tattoo inked on their person.  Dad was so proud of them.

My half-brother John once gave me a piece of wisdom that become a mantra I’ve carried with me and lived by since all those summers ago.  “Once your Dad is gone, it doesn’t matter what you want to say or what you don’t say, it’s too late.”  Sure, I banged heads with me ole man, who doesn’t?  But at the end of his days, we had a close relationship as any true son would have with his Dad.  I just didn’t need to keep feathering an ego every day with face book postings that was more about ‘look at me with Dad, I’m the favourite’ to solicit ‘likes’ or smiley face images.

Everything that needed to be said to him, was said.  Everything that was said by him to me, was said.

That’s the lesson I want to share with you.  Own what you want to say; own what you don’t want to say.  Do both before you become an orphan.  And when you do become an orphan, let go and move on to leave the departed at peace versus continuing to use their name for further vanity purposes.

Except for when brother David returns to New Zealand of course and we play our golf game like we used to do as father and sons.  Dad will no doubt be listening for the bullshit banter and get mentioned in there amongst it!

I’ll miss my Dad but don’t stress.  The step-side of the family have adopted me.  Yay!  Something lost was something gained.

Let the arguments begin as to who the favourite step-sister is.  Will come down to the best present on Christmas Day.  As family.

Cheers Dad, you tough old bugger.  Now may you R.I.P.

5/3/17 The Christmas Tree Is Up, Ho Ho Ho

Our days of living out of a back pack or suitcase have come to an end!

For the time being anyway.

During the week, we relocated back into our 80m2 abode after a month of putting the heads down at various locations.  There is something to be said about finding the contours of your own mattress or the smells of your pillow comfort.  The ability to walk naked when one wanders to the bathroom or to make a cup of tea under the cover of night is just a relaxed feeling.

Remembering to shut the curtains before turning the lights on is a habit to be re-mastered.  We will get there, ahem!

It too has been a month of backyard pace doing activity conducive to working our plan be get back to again adventuring this beautiful landscape we have.  And to eventually get lost in another’s.

Attending a travel expo does that to you.  Collecting magazines with images of hinterland and adventure does that to you.  You only need to affix one image of a destination you want to explore to your external fridge door to remind you to take daily action toward realizing it.  It does that to you.

But alas, there is a heap of work still to be done first.  In the now.

I have picked up where I left off with my previous employer doing family dispute resolution mediation co-ordination and Claire has picked up a role sorting freight for CourierPost in the evenings.

Claire has launched her Bookkeeping services to small to medium businesses.  I have launched my availability to be your Celebrant whether for matching people (marriages) or dispatching people (funerals).

Our mentor Jim Rohn says it well, “wages will make you a living, profits will make you fortune.”  We don’t need much fortune to travel how we do.  And our little piece of residence contributes to that, 80m2 of space means less dusting and minimal gardening.

Getting our belongings out of storage and unwrapping our possessions has been like Christmas.  Putting up our Christmas Tree (although artificial and who made up the rules to say you can only do it at the merry time of the year?) has been fun.  Placing the decorations reflective – the sandals from Vietnam; the figurines from East Africa; the turtle from Sri Lanka; the calendar from Egypt; the piece of rock from Mt Everest Base Camp.  Nothing artificial about these.  Just heartfelt reminders for us to stay focused on what has mattered most, collecting experiences.

An impromptu message via Linkedin yesterday from a couple visiting Christchurch whom Claire worked with in Dubai all those years ago, and becoming friends, was the best house warming surprise we could have ever imagined.  Having them over for a meal and converse about life that was, life that is and life that is to be, priceless.

These are the type of experiences we refer too.

And timely to communicate that we are back on deck and now settled.  Ready for those wanderers looking for a place to rest THEIR heads.  It may be tiny however, it will be homely.

Naturally, family and friends too!

Ho, ho, ho.

Do What You Love, Love What You Do

What’s with the change of title from ‘Kiwi Minimalists’ to ‘Adventure Before Dementia.’

Can’t remember!

Oh!

It goes without writing that one of our passions is travel.  Adventure travel while the bodies still can and, while we still have our marbles!

The recent blog journaling posts have been to capture and share our recent travel escapades.  Its intent was to hopefully stimulate you too to perhaps go visit lands of distant far or even within your own borders.  To travel is to live and to live is to travel.

There was bugger all posts on the ‘why’, ‘what’ or ‘how to’ essentials of living a minimalistic lifestyle.  Something else we are passionate about and will continue to incorporate into our daily life.

Plus, there is loads of stuff to inspire you on living with less to be, have or do more of what matters most at the end of your screen there for the reading.  Joshua Becker’s www.becomingminimalist.com or ‘The Joy of Less’ e-book by Francine Jay are fantastic places to check out if simplifying your life interest’s you.

Which brings us back to our interest on travel.  Our passion.  (Cripes, we are starting to repeat ourselves … it this the start of dementia?)

Travel nor the nomadic lifestyle is not for everyone.  We respect that.

We too love the creature comforts of a fresh change of clothes versus the same old same old day in and day out; the fragrance of perfume or cologne versus the odour of underarm or smelly socks; a toilet seat versus a squat, balance and hope the wind is blowing in the right direction!  Nonetheless, we love that too.

What matters most is to do what you love and, love what you do.

Ours is to adventure travel.

While we still have our marbles!

Hence and in conclusion, adventure before dementia.

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