Tag Archives: hike

Just your Average Sunday Hike

I am aware that writing about a current even when I still haven’t written about 4 months ago may seem 20160403_111659 (1280x960)a bit odd but it sometimes just seems a bit simpler to get it done quickly and keep my brain moving on to the next thing. It is with that in mind that I give you a micro story, complete with pictures, of the little hike that we went for on Sunday.

When it comes to a story there isn’t really much to tell to be quite honest. Craig, Kate and I decided to go for a random drive and figure somewhere out to go for a walk and that is pretty much all that happened! We started driving down the peninsula and kept looking for signs to the many walking tracks that are around the area and 20160403_112517 (1280x960)eventually found a little track leading down to a beach in the distance. The weather want too great but we were in adventure mode so didn’t really care as we headed down the hill.

One of the best things about being in Dunedin is the views. When you are living your day to day life you can almost forget about them until they suddenly sneak up on you and catch you off guard. This place is only 15 mins drive from my house and I never even knew it existed until we went for the random drive. Heading down the hill the dark clouds started to roll in but 20160403_112416 (1280x960)we were undeterred with our waterproof jackets and iron will. It wasn’t until we had been walking downhill for about 15 mins that it dawned on us that also meant a long uphill walk back to the car!

A little bit further on the rain started. Luckily it wasn’t too windy and we were all pretty warm from the walk. As we wonder and chatted away we were treated to the most standard of sights in New Zealand, a young Kiwi boy running up the hill in the rain wearing just a thin 20160403_113532 (1280x957)T-shirt and shorts… Barefoot! The track was full of gravel and stones but it just didn’t seem to bother him at all as he powered his way up the hill, making us look like wimps with our jackets and comfy shoes.

By the time we had got down to the water the rain was really coming down and it turns out that after a year of use my waterproof jacket wasn’t very waterproof any more. Not only that but my trainers and hat also started to leak which is never really a fun time. We only stayed on the beach long enough to take a few pictures and then start our way back up. It was at the start of our assent that Craig pointed to a weird tree and commented “How bad must the wind be out here to do that to the trees?”. These trees look like that had been through some harsh times growing up, that’s for sure!

Anyway after a trudging back up the hill we were back in the car, home, warm and showered before lunch. The perfect little Sunday morning adventure.

 

Day 3: Rob Roy Glacier

One of the key points of the adventure that Craig and I had arranged was that we hadn’t really arranged much… or anything for that matter. Aside from the plan of spending Christmas Eve and night in Wakana we had exactly zero plans of what to do for the next chunk of days that we both had off of work. Our rough goal was at some point to go sea kayaking in the Able Tasman national park, however we hadn’t even put a date on this and didn’t really have anything planned any further than that. On Christmas day Frankie had suggested that we go and take a look at the Rob Roy Glacier that isn’t that far from Wanaka and so that’s what we did (we are very easily influenced).
DSC_2133 (1280x720)The start point of our hike was only about 35km away in a straight line but took us well over an hour to get there on the long and winding roads of back country New Zealand. Since the road doesn’t lead anywhere other than to the start of the track there isn’t seen to be much point in putting in a tarmac road which means suddenly at one point along the way you hit a gravel track and have to slow right down to avoid stone chips and huge pot holes. The other issue with driving on the gravel roads was the amount of dust that it all kicked up. It wasn’t even an option to have the windows down as the amount of dust that would come in through the windows would have suffocated us in an instant. Behind the car a huge dust cloud blew over the fields letting everyone within a few miles know that we were on our way. Passing other cars on this one lane road was also quite DSC_2138 (1280x720)interesting as after you manage to get past them you then have the issue of not being able to see anything for the next few minutes while you wait for the dust to settle around you, effectively driving along blind, hoping that there isn’t anything else coming to take you out! The constant dust was also broken up with other obstacles such as little streams or quite large fords that we had to cross. Luckily for us we had taken the 4×4 Outlander so got through without a hitch but I really wouldn’t have wanted to be in a small car given the size of some of the streams we had to cross. At least it made us feel like real wilderness warriors out to have ourselves a proper adventure.
DSC_2143 (1280x720)After the excitement of the drive we got to the car park at the start of the trail and were a little disheartened with our expeditionary efforts when we noticed all the standard, small, rental cars that filled most of the car park. It seems that no matter how much of an adventurer you think you are there is always a tourist on holiday with a rental car they don’t give a shit about that will go harder and further than you would dream!
After getting over our now deflated egos we all stopped to actually take in the scenery for a moment as we were all blown away by it. Just from the car park the view way amazing with mountains all around us and the river flowing by. After being cooped up in the car for so long the only thing that everyone wanted was to get out and start walking so it was bags packed, water topped up, sun cream on (yes even me) and Santa hats on heads and then onwards to glory!
DSC_2153 (1280x720)The beautiful thing that I will never quite get over about New Zealand is that whenever you think you have found the best view of the most perfect of scenes there is always one that is 10 times better around the next corner. On the way up on our hike none of us were really that well prepared or in the best of shape (given the night of drinking beforehand) and a few times we had almost said to ourselves “Ok this view is amazing, there is not point going any further.” Yet each time we had decided to just go for another 5 minutes and ended up seeing yet another amazing thing, be it the birds, rivers, waterfalls or mountains. As we eventually got to the top of the hike we were greeted by the terminal face of the Rob Roy Glacier at the other side of the valley to us, waterfalls cascading down the mountains as the snow and ice slowly melted. It was quite an awe inspiring moment as every now and again you could hear the whole mountain groan and crack as the ice slowly shifted and melted away. Pretty sure we got a few group selfies to commemorate our achievement, however it seems that none of them were on my camera so Frankie / Merle, I need those pics!
DSC_2157 (1280x720)Although the way up was quite a hard climb, the way down for me was personally the harder challenge. Ever since damaging my knee when I was 14 I have had problems walking down hills. The issue is that my knee on my right leg is weaker than my left meaning that when I go down on it I end up dropping quite hard and in a bit of a clunky manner. This becomes uncomfortable really quickly and makes walking down steep inclines quite annoying. To combat this though I have found that bizarrely running seems to not cause me a problem at all since the movement is different which means that whenever I walk up a big hill I end up running down it as its easier. This often makes me look like a bit of an idiot but I also actually quite like the challenge and it can be quite fun. On this occasion though it wasn’t as fun as I would have liked. To add to the knee problems I was also having a bit of a bad attack oDSC_2150 (1280x720)f hayfever, complete with blocked noes, runny eyes and difficulty breathing. This unfortunately is one of the downsides of having Christmas in the middle of summer. My hayfever was so bad at one point that I could hardly see and kept having to squint to even be able to see where I was going. This is not the best of combinations when running down a precarious mountain but needs must so I just went for it. With my rucksack straps pulled tight and my friends informed that I wasn’t being a dick and did need to run off I set off down the hill at pace, flying past other tourists both ascending and descending while still wearing my Santa hat. I admit I did get some strange looks along my way but also quite a few nods and smiles which evens it all out and although I could hardly breath or see I did have quite a lot of fun along the way.
DSC01914 (1024x768)One of the other motivations for my extra burst of speed was the call of nature. On my way down I had started to really need a wee but there was literally nowhere to go. Because the track was so steep into the side of the gorge there wasn’t really the ability to go off the track much and as there were so many people there was constantly someone around the next corner who could have seen if I stopped in the middle of the track to pee on a tree. The only option was to get all the way back to the car park and use the proper toilet down there. So on Boxing day while wearing a red Santa hat, sunglasses and a backpack I practically sprinted down a mountain with snot running out of my nose in order to go for a wee! All in all I must say this is one of my greatest accomplishments as I did put in a damn good pace. I had got down the track, to the toilet and was sitting by the river cooling off my feet for over 20 mins before everyone else finally joined me. As my friend Mr. Richardson once said “There is nothing better for a personal best than needing the toilet” and I don’t think a truer statement can be made.
DSC01927 (1024x768)After a little rest and relaxation it was time to make a move and start making our way to our next location for the evening, Frans Joseph. Due to the mountain ranges in Otago it can cause some issues when it comes to driving. Although we had driven an hour north of Wanaka we had to drive all the way back there in order to drive north again to get to Frans Joseph since it was the other side of the lake. Since we were doing this we had just taken the 1 car all the way to the track which did save fuel etc. but it did mean we had to get back to the car park and sort out the stuff in the cars before heading onwards on another 3+ hour drive. At this point the hayfever had won me over and I had to play passenger for a while and let Craig drive. For the next 3 hours I sat in the passenger seat with my eyes closed hoping for the stinging to stop so that I would be able to open my eyes. Unfortunately I had no such luck and by the time we got to Franz Joseph I just headed straight to bed to try and sleep while the other got dinner and made some plans for the next day.
Even though the hayfever did take me out of action and I deeply hate having it I am happy to say that it didn’t ruin my day and my memories of the day are still all positive. I am still so glad that I did it and got to share the experience with some great friends.

Arrowtown day trip

Earlier in the week CB and Audrey were off work on the same day to we decided to take a little road trip to Arrow town which is between Wanaka and Queenstown. Arrowtown is one of the places that the gold rush miners went to when gold was first discovered in the area as it is located by some big hills and mountains and right on the river. Now a days Arrowtown is a quaint little tourist town that looks more like something from wild west America than back country New Zealand. The saloon style buildings looking exactly like you would expect from an old western.golden nugget

We decided not to do a massive hike as CB is still damaged and I we all just fancied a chilled out day anyway so we headed along the river track in the hillside to at least take in some of the views. As with everything in New Zealand the scenery was stunning especially the water down in the ravine with its crystal clear blue water. A couple of times we were passed by people on mountain bikes with made me jealous and also a little cautious! The path that we were walking on was fairly thin and cut into a hillside. Quite often the bath would get very narrow and loose rocksthere was a drop of at least 50ft on one side. Although the track looked amazing to rider on I wouldn’t have liked to be the person on it when things went wrong as if they did they would in a major way. Riding ability wouldn’t even have been the biggest issue either as the the stability of the track was also questionable. The hills were made of a sort of stone similar to slate in the way it was layered, yet is was much more brittle. You could grab it with your hand a break a piece off which lead to a lot of land slides and broken rock on the tracks. I might leave riding that trail for one of my more daring days!

We finished up our day with an DSC_0765amazing Thai meal in a small town called Cromwell on our way back. It was sort of a vindication for oriental restaurants in New Zealand after the terrible experience we had back in Queenstown.

Yet another good day with good people 🙂

 

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Climbing a Volcano!

Ok. So I should start by clarifying that the volcano I am mentioning is not active in the slightest as isn’t quite as big as you might think. Mount Eden (also known as Maungawhau) last erupted around 15,000 years ago and partly caused the creation of the land that now contains a lot of the greater Auckland area. It is about 4km from the city centre and seemed like a nice little stroll on a sunny day. To be honest I didn’t quite realise that is was a volcano until I got to the top and looked down into the crater. Up until then I just thought it was a massive hill that seemed to be very difficult to climb up (even with a path) and seemed to be more hassle than it was worth. I was proved wrong when we got to the top and finally say the amazing view of Auckland and the surrounding area’s including the sea on both coats of the city. The view was really amazing and I could have stayed there for a few hours just sitting, relaxing, reading and taking in the surroundings.

Panorama

DSC_0571It has made me even more hopeful for the things that I might end up seeing on this trip. There are so many amazing sites to see that I really don’t know where to start!

 

Big Buddha Hike

After a heavy night of drinking the last thing anyone wants in the world is to get out of bed. The next most dreaded thing would be to do anything active in the slightest. With this in mind we went out drinking on Saturday night knowing full well that we had arranged to hike upAlex to the Big Buddha of Phuket on Sunday morning. Rhi had helped to arrange it all and was nice and fresh as she stayed home the night before, as were Josefine and Alex. Ursi and I on the other hand were the life of the party just a few hours earlier so were feeling the effects a little more than everyone else.

Our original plan was to start the hike at TMT and then go all the way along the road until we got to the bottom of the hill, before continuing our climb all the way up. From TMT to the top would be about 8km and after having a bit more of a think about it no one really wanted to walk 4km before we even started the climb its self. I am kind of glad that they talked me out of that original plan as I think I may have died a little if we had gone and done that! Instead we jumped on the scooters that Alex and Josefine had (with helmets of course) and then headed off to the bottom of the big hill to start our Big Buddha Trek.

After about 5 mins of walking we all soon understood how elephanthard this little walk was going to be and that everyone at Tiger Muay Thai was basically gone in the head. The reason for saying this is that every tuesday morning they do something called the Buddha run where everyone gets together and then runs from the bottom of the road all the way up to the top. Here was us having issues just walking and other people run it at speed!

It wasn’t long at all before we decided to stop for a moment and have a little photo shoot and grab a hiking crewgroup pic together while claiming ourselves the winners of conquering a whole 200m of of 4km journey. We continued to plough on with the hike chatting and getting to know each other a bit more as the walk went on. Although you meet people here and chat to them more often that not the conversations are just in passing and often start with “what have you been training today?”. This meant it was quite nice to just do something not combat related and get to know people a little better. It was the first time I had met Alex or Josefine properly before and so its quite fun to learn what people get up too when they are not fighting all day long.

After a while of walking and chatting we came to the sunset bar which was nearly at the top of the hill. kata beachInstead of carrying on to the top we decided to just have a sit there for a moment to take in the view and grab something to drink. From up there the view of Kata beach and the sea is seriously impressive. I walked to the top edge of the rocks and just stood there for what seemed like 10 mins just taking it in and watching the world go by below. I think life is about those little moments where you can just step back and appreciate everything going on around you.

After our little rest we continued the walk up to the top, Rhi and Josefine pushing the way forwards with Usri and I bringing up the rear with our hangover pace.

buddhaAt the top there is a lot more going on with stalls and information about the shrine and what they are building. The girls were given sarongs to wear while we were onsite around the Buddha as they had to keep their legs covered while we wondered around. It was really good to get a up close and personal with the Buddha as it is a landmark that can be seen for miles around and really towers over the whole of southern Phuket.

The view from the top was equally as stunning and we could see all of the other beaches around us and the majestic views below. CAMERAI am really glad we kept the motivation to get up and go even if it did end up taking us most of the day with our slow pace and constant stops. I would definetly recomment anyone in the area to make the trip up there, even if it is just in a Taxi, as the view is certainly worth it. We are thinking of Hiking up there another day in time to see the sunset at the same bar and just chill out there for a while. It certainly isn’t a trip I would want to make on the back of a scooter though!