Playtime is not only for children.
Playtime is not only for children.
Switching out and switching up during today’s micro-adventure made for a far greater reward in a better food nourishment choice and, a more spectacular view.
The destination was the same – feel goooooooood.
Isn’t that was life is about?
Perhaps our first instinct is to check our calendar or diary to see what’s on when asked to join a mate or friend or just people doing a micro-adventure activity in the outdoors.
The question becomes, can you re-arrange your schedule so that you can get out an do it?
Sure it takes diplomacy when the task may involve a third person. Or even if it’s a special day.
The conversation can be a heck of a lot more fruitful when you are out of breath doing it … you don’t speak so much BS, that’s for sure.
Try this challenge of accepting an outdoor activity for the next 21 days when asked, by moving your diary around to participate. As much as you can to be adventuring, whilst you still can.
Enrichment is to experience fellow beings do something they signed up for without researching first, what they signed up for.
And so was the case with our mates, Tin and Lisa and, Andy and Mandy.
“Would you guys be interested in walking into a hut?”
And so I booked Mueller Hut. Not so much in as it was up.
Then the abuse started. Or more the research conducted and the many questions with self doubt asked once they ascertained that Mueller Hut was a steep climb up – 1,800 metres or so. Being a funeral celebrant had nothing to do with it. Not at all.
But they accepted. And made time to train, whether up Rapaki Track or the pipeline of The Bridle Path. And persevered.
Then the day arrived and unfortunately, due to predicted 150km winds expected the day we were to descend, DOC advised not to stay overnight but to still hump it up to the Sealy Tarn and if you can get up to the Ridge, bonus.
And so they did. Up steep zig zagging steps that had a number of others traversing the altitude, voice about the challenge.
Reaching the Sealy Tarn to peer out and up the Hooker Valley, Aoraki/Mount Cook graced the horizon with share mana, it was priceless. Ko Aoraki te Māunga. Translated, it means Aoraki/Mt Cook is my mountain. An important part of my mihi,
It was gut busting and crunched bone on gristle or strained muscle off tendons. But they did it – Tin and Lisa and, Mandy and Andy.
1,797 man-made steps they ascended. How can one not be proud of ya mates. How can one not be enriched, by them.
Then onward and more so upward we trekked. Mandy’s dodgy knee won out on the next part and had M & A make the call to decide to re-trace the steps back down. The rest of us continued on.
Orange markers and tussock abated to become rock and scree, sometimes we had to lean into the mountainside to keep the balance.
And when we reached the ridge line, the force of the wind in it’s infancy gave hair a buff up as if one had stuck a finger straight into an electrical socket. Fellow trekkers were descending and their advice was to push on for a further 20 minutes. The Mueller Hut was that close.
As we sat looking out the windows of the Mueller Hut to Mount Ollivier, there was a sense of achievement at taking on the elements and pushing the body boundaries to view the peak Sir Edmund Hillary first climbed to begin his life’s passion for summiting peaks of the globe. His legacy was now our reality. The 360 degree view was absolutely stunning. Avalanche’s across the valley were regular, as snow cascaded down cliff faces. The wind whistled between the hut piles cemented strongly into the rock foundations below. It reminded us to get out and down before mother nature would allow otherwise.
And so we did, meeting up the Mandy and Andy at the Hermitage Mount Cook for a celebratory ale. Before returning back to Twizel to our hosts the night before, Mike and Anne. The meal prepared and dished up was amazing. Only after retiring to the mattress did the body remind us that we had pushed the thing to the limits.
It was worth it.
Enrichment is to experience fellow beings do something they signed up for without researching first, what they signed up for.
Just waiting for the team to come back to me on the next adventure proposed. They are currently doing their research … hahahahaha, ahem!
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.
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.
Whether in a one day or over three or four days … take the journey.
You will be not be disatisfied with the road ridden … Ross to Hokitika to Cowboy Paradise to Kumara to Greymouth.
Or just the bits in-between.
And, certainly memorable …
… “Are you there?” was the question asked as we sat in the room of our B&B.
“Yes, come in”
It was the B&B operator’s daughter.
“Just wanted to know if you are any relation of a Sonny Ruru?”
“He was my Dad” the reply given.
“What a small world. My Mum went out with him when Sonny used to live in Reefton. Her name is Gladys and she would love to meet you”
And so we did.
Meet and greet and then had the most awesome conversation about my Dad when he lived in Reefton. He worked in the mines and both him and Gladys were an item for the time he lived there. The year, 1948 or there abouts. Gladys was a Nurse Aid and she confirmed Dad’s story about the mining accident where Dad and one other made it out alive – Morris Skilton. Another was unfortunate and was killed. Dad lived with a family by the name of the Lawrences during his time there; and when Dad returned to Christchurch, their relationship ended.
Shortly after our face to face, Gladys had found a black and white photo of her and Dad.
Leaving Greymouth, we back tracked to Ross (the start of my ride) to do touristy thing as the township had pioneer history worthy of a re-visit. Calling into friends Tane, Rachel, Ruby, Ava and Tilly in-between for a nose rub and bounce on the tramp was fun.
‘It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you’ – Rumi
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.
Who doesn’t love chocolate?
An early morning drop off to the airport for another Te Araroa Trail walker Rob, who completed the whole distance by foot.
If you want to be fascinated by his keenness to capture life at it’s most starriest … check out some of his night shots of the solar system over New Zealand on his fb page photos.
‘I have chocolate’ was his signage used to hitch a ride from the deep south to Christchurch. We ate what was left over so as to make room for the three books we donated to him so as to de-clutter some more!
Keeping us in focus to work smarter, not harder was welcomed. Adventure before dementia … eating heaps of Caremello naturally!
Cheers Rob, loved the visit.
A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to speak at a Mentee/Mentors evening for The Blind Foundation.
The contact there had heard us speak a month earlier whereby we shared some tools around goal setting and how that contributed to our adventure before dementia travel lifestyle – especially the tandem ride across Canada. She wanted us to share our dream it, design it and do it 3-3-5-3 Best Year Ever tool to help participants focus on their dreams they want to realize. Excuse the pun but they have an amazing sense of humour when able sighted folk mistakenly refer to anything to do with the ability to see things and they can’t!
There was no point in showing our power point image presentation. Instead, we adjusted our narrative to use more descriptive words and worked hard to describe the illustrations we wanted them to picture in their minds. It went well.
Whilst mingling with them and their guide dogs afterwards, we learnt volunteers take some of the group for cycle rides on the back of tandems. This resonated with us somewhat and how easy was it for us to sign up to be a volunteer a couple of mornings a month.
One couple present had a tandem. With Chris (fully sighted) on the front and Nicola (visually impaired) the stoker on the back, Chris was not confident on sharing the tar seal with other traffic. With a goal to travel around New Zealand to ride as many of the off-road mountain tracks as possible, they hadn’t yet taken to some of the mountain bike tracks in our own back yard, Christchurch.
We arranged that we would chaperone them around McLean’s Island mountain bike track and give them some coaching on manoeuvring a tandem with all the bells and whistles of staying up right; negotiating an incline and/or decline; navigate sharp bends; and slalom the natural obstacles of a protruding rock or tree root or stump. Nicola warned that coarse language is sometimes necessary to remind the fella on the front of the pillion passenger on the back.
Their tenacity to get out and blat the ten kilometres was beautiful. And with only one swear word moment!
They have a re-kindled enthusiasm to get on with their training because they took the leap of faith. In us. But more so in themselves.
Damn those tears of happiness. Now we had impaired vision!
Well done Chris and Nicola. The New Zealand mountain bike trails beckon.
From the blog post 1/7/16 Licking Limes, Vermilion Bay to Wabiggon – 68.1. kms
“It’s Canada Day here in the land of the Maple Leaf today.
After yesterday’s acclimatisation to the inclines and declines, we encountered a number of folk who made the day seem to go so much faster yet taking longer. But it wasn’t over yet.
As we came out of the local store, up rode another cyclist. Her name was Sheri and she too was going in the opposite direction. Marcus (out other biker mate up ahead of us) had told Sheri about the Kiwi’s on a tandem so it was like we just picked up a conversation like long lost friends versus being total strangers. So much so that we all purchased a beer (or Claire a Licking Lime) and microwave dinner each, went back to the hotel (Sheri booked in also) and spent the remainder of the sunshine rays conversing about life, blended families, dreams and sore arses.
What a fantastic way to celebrate Canada’s birthday with special people met.
Must have been a little de-hydrated somewhat as we didn’t see the fireworks go off as part of the festivities.
Just the bottom of the eyelids.”
Who would have ever imagined that this one encounter with a total stranger would have the same person whom we now call a friend, sitting in our lounge down under in the land of the long white cloud?
And to think that Marcus from the same blog post had laid his head down on our lounge floor only last Thursday, just four days before! He too has been cycling the landscape of the North Island.
Cheers Sheri and Marcus for visiting – it was just magic to see you both again.
Keep coming people!