Escape • Explore • Enjoy • Exist

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

Category: Inspire (page 1 of 13)

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!

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.

10/1/2019 Roxburgh Gorge Trail – 42 kms

Rabbits breed like rabbits on the landscape ridden today.

The number of white arses that were spooked to scatter in all directions as we disturbed their morning ritual, possibly more breeding, was infinite!

However, one had to keep a sharp eye on the dirt infront as the bike chain was manuvered up and down the back wheel cogs – the Gorge Trail had the worst ascents and decents giving us the best view at altitude, and at the waters edge. Don’t be put off by the switch backs (zig zags) because they made the distance covered enjoyable and certainly a worthy and stunning micro-adventure to add to your ‘before I die’ list of things to tick off.

The Roxburgh dam was the first major dam and power station project in the South Island after the Second World War and started it’s generation of electricity to the grid during 1956.

There is a middle section part of the trail where you need to be transported by a jet boat due to a land owner refusing access. Once we reached the jetty from the dam end, we rode back to the car to drive to Alexandra, get back on the bikes to cycle in from the other end.

Alexandra

It was an easier 20 kms return to Doctors Point jetty. Hot, sweat and grime added feeling, smell and taste to the experience.

Riding the trail from the Alexandra end …
Doctors Point Jetty

Bikes back on the car and an ice cream reward before we headed towards the Alps to spend another night sleeping on the ground in the green Kermit, at Lake Hawea Holiday Park.

Towards Lake Hawea we drove.

A huge camping community where we witnessed kids riding without helmets, in bare feet, throwing out smiles of salutations to two total strangers … huh, something we used to see more of back in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and late 90’s.

Different breed of rabbits nowadays!

9/1/2019 Millers Flat to Roxburgh Dam & Return – 58 kms

It was 19.4 kms to the township of Roxburgh. Deserved of a pie from Jimmy’s Pie Shop that is reknown for making pretty good pies. Weren’t bad neither – Claire consuming a lambshank one, me a mutton one.

That’s after we each ate a Mince and Cheese pastry one each beforehand!

The trail is very doable for novice and children. We met a family from Auckland who were chaperoning their two young boys and they were loving it. We left them at the pie shop where they had two bags full of pies! Fatties!

And if you think you are aged and worn out, the e-bike is the way to go. The number of elderly (or younger) who over took us or we neared having a head on was just inspiring to see.

We are still of the mindset that our bodies are capable of still doing the hard yards. And just love the feeling at the end of a ride that we know we have pushed the body under our own steam.

The remains of an old river dredge from last century.
History still hangs onto dear life on the Clutha.
The Clutha Dam

It makes for a weary body better nights sleep.

Except if you are on the ground!

Bumping into a 2nd cousin who was staying at the campground was a genuine way to catch up on life in general. Her donating us some apricots was humbling.

Three each on top of the two pies earlier, hmmmmmmm!

21/10/18 Top of the South Island – Picton

A, B or C?

At the Picton foreshore, we hung a right to head eastwards and rode beyond Waikawa, Karaka Point and Whatamango Bay, until we reached the summit that over looked Port Underwood.

The blue dot on Google Maps marks the spot of our furtherest point pedaled.  Unfortunately, doesn’t show the altitude.

The views were naturally spectacular when you looked up from the tar seal.

Not so much though when I looked up and saw Claire out front, smoking it.  On her new 29-inch mountain bike that has a handle bar push button seat post that automatically raises the height of her butt.  Pfft!

If one was to relocate to Picton to reside, one would need a water craft of some type here.  And then it happened, into the picture frame at Karaka Point, three types appeared.

A – sea kayaks, B – a yacht or C, a motor boat?

Which one would you choose to get out on the Queen Charlotte Sound, and adventure on?

It’s Better To See Something Once Than To Hear About It A Thousand Times

On our fridge back in New Zealand, we usually have a picture of our next adventure affixed to the door.

Like a visualization thingy.

It inspires our dream it – design it – do it, philosophy of life.  And motivates us to ensure we focus on magnetizing towards making the picture of the adventure, a reality.

An image of Machu Picchu is currently affixed to the fridge door.

Another philosophy of ours is to always have the next adventure on the radar before we step off the plane and therefore, Machu Picchu will come off and another image will go up, when we arrive back home in the next few days.

We also have another image that has graced our fridge for a number of years with the quote: “It’s better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.”  The quote just resonates.

More so today when we saw it came out on the plate like butterfly chicken – a term used when you cut the chicken in half and split it open to resemble a butterfly.

Except, it wasn’t chicken but a local delicacy Cuy.  We knew it as Guinea Pig and you knew it was, the head and feet were still attached!

It was a crispy brown colour from having been deep fried.  A tomato and red onion salad with a hint of dressing and, two deep fried potatoes accompanied the menu meal.  Not sure about the teeth showing and thank goodness that you couldn’t see any eyes, they were battered over.
But once you got over the paws and head, it was quite delicious.  A bit like chicken, perhaps.

The traditional Peruvian dish Cuy … or Guinea Pig

It was our last full day in Arequipa and we knew we had to try the traditional Peruvian dish that we had heard about, a thousand times.

It was something different to end this adventure on.

We have taken heaps of photos as a return ticket to the moments experienced, that will otherwise be gone.  The blog scripted adds value to remind us of the emotional feelings we sensed.  To propel us to keep going … to escape, explore and, enjoy.

This is the last blog post from Peru.

A special thanks to all those who have followed, liked or made comments. It’s been a blast.

Until the next adventure … keep well and live purposefully.

The Rurus

 

Chew It, Chew It, Chew It

CHEW IT, CHEW IT, CHEW IT

Cycling the length of New Zealand to raise money for a stranger on a hospital waiting list.

Written and illustrated by Brent Ruru.

 

Finished the manuscript to the next book, illustrations in progress. Thought I would give you a glimpse as to the story captured, weaved and hopefully, not to long before ready to share.

INTRODUCTION

“Bite off more than you can chew and then, chew it”

There were two details I remember.

Cameron our son stating the sentence and, what was said.

“Wouldn’t it be cool to cycle the length of New Zealand.”

It was 2004. He was fourteen at the time.

I had just finished reading No Opportunity Wasted written by Phil Keoghan and was working on identifying my eight steps to getting the most out of life, as challenged by Phil. Thanks to Cameron, the Test Your Limits step now had a purpose. And meaning.

Cycle the length of New Zealand to raise money for a stranger on a hospital waiting list.

That’s it.

Decided.

Writing it down made it official. It gave it substance. More so, a focus.

Naturally, the voice on one of the shoulders was having a great time playing on the thoughts that we were biting off more than we could chew.

However, the other voice on the other shoulder was equally whispering, “chew it, chew it, chew it!”

When instinct pushes us to explore, we push boundaries outside ourselves; when we test personal limits, we push boundaries within us.

And so, we did.

Chew it.

All the other details are captured as follows.

Whatever your boundary, push beyond it.

The chew is worth it.

 

Beyond Vision Loss

Claire and I recently signed up to volunteer for the Foundation for the Blind and, take visually impaired members out for a ride on the back of a tandem.

Our first ride had us pedal a ‘stoker’ (that’s what they call the pillion passenger) from Lincoln to Little River, on a dis-used converted railway line connection, now a cycle rail trail.

My member had never ridden a tandem before, let alone the distance being approx. 44 kms one way, and so was absolutely thrilled to make it the whole way.  A grin of achievement – a grimace of a sore bum however, it was worth it.

Claire’s member rode both to and from Little River meaning over 80 kms on the bike seat.  So did Claire actually making up the tandem numbers!  Her member was as equally euphoric.

I rode the tandem bike back without passenger for moral support.

This would have to have been one of the best micro-adventures we have ever involved ourselves with.

To enrich.  To be enriched.

Remember the Carefree Days of Youth?

Playtime is not only for children.

What Will Be Your Life’s Items To Be Placed on Your Casket?

If you ain’t going dream it – design it and go do it, then what items will you place on your casket to represent your life’s passions? Some words shared after conducting a funeral earlier in the day …

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