Thursday, January 28, 2010

Snippets of Summer

Four in the morning on the 28th of January and summer is slipping away. We are both back at work, Penny in the neo-natal unit (the baby factory) and me now fulltime at the bus company counting beans. Writing has taken a backward step to living on the move and I wonder if thinking has as well. I don't feel in the right space to savour every moment, to remember vividly, I'm left with fleeting moments of the last few months and I don't even think of them much.

Sprint the Bays

Most recently I headed to the Hawkes Bay for an orienteering competition "Sprint the Bays", six sprint events on detailed campus and park maps over a weekend. Six times fifteen minutes flat stick, hard on these untrained legs. I did well but the moments I remember are the negative ones, a mis-punch (clipping the wrong checkpoint) when the yellow jersey would have been mine and the frustration of seeing another competitor cross an out of bounds area when I had been struggling to run him down. The bad moments seem to stick sometimes.

Calamity in Cambridge

A couple of weeks back, Penny and I undertook this little Adventure Race with good friends Brent and Ramash. We kayaked on Lake Karapiro and most memorably down the worn gorge from the dam to Cambridge. The river still flows like a river should for a while there. We biked and trekked around the low hills south of town and towards Wharepapa our navigation skills and Brents tow rope securing a win.

A Tararua Tramp

We finally explored the Poads Road entrance to the Tararuas, heading up the Ohau one fine day and returning down Gable End ridge one wet day after. The South Ohau river is pleasant and fast travel with low and warm water, I could imagine it is otherwise from time to time, and the South Ohau Hut looks a great spot. We headed up over Girdlestone Saddle and Pukematawai to find Arete Biv as darkness and the front caught up on us. There were nervous moments as my navigation wasn't good in the clag and the hut proved to have been moved. But once inside we had shelter from the storm.

Back in Arthurs Pass

Working back in time and imagining Brent and I reversing the top half of the South Island, stopping only briefly at Okiwi Bay on the Kaikoura Post and at the Anglers Arms in North Canterbury when the norwester threatened to blow the kayak of the roof, and we get to Arthurs Pass where Mum and Dad live amongst the beech, keas and tourists. We stalled for a time here this summer, playing board games with the extended Prince clan and watching the rain drum against the windows.

The best day was when I grabbed Sara away from the family one morning and went up one side of the valley - Mt Phipps, and then with Aaron and Brent popped up for a rumble down the Bealey Scree that afternoon. Thats living in the mountains! High up on the summit ridge of Phipps I startled a rock wren in a pile of choss, it stared at me for a second then vanished into its tunnels.

Phipps from Temple Basin, the cloud had returned by the time we reached the top

Brent on the Bealey scree

Hanging around on Mt Bealey

Aaron in Rough Creek

Aside from the action we spent some peaceful time just hanging around with Aaron and Sara's kids, Karin and Greta, perhaps relearning with them the sights and smells of old bachs and the Arthus Pass environment.

And then heading back into the mists of time and we spent several days in the paradise of Totaranui. For some reason I remember the first run, up over Gibbs Hill and down past the old farmhouse turned hut to the headlands and beaches of the quiet side of the Abel Tasman. The last couple of headlands we skirted, clambering the granity coast.

There were other missions too, a descent of one of the creeks that drains from the inland track, avoiding waterfalls by reading the lie of the land and undertaking feats of great agility on the great old trunks wedged in the river. I remember Lara doing a high jump into a pool out over a ledge when there was no other option, and Penny and Brent emerging from a bend in the gorge like tightrope walkers on an old rimu.

And now I am really out of time and I haven't ventured onto Caspar and Nadines wedding, or visiting Julie at Outward Bound or Mt Philistine or the gorgeous ratas and pohutukawas or summer concerts in the park that have been filling our evenings lately. More to talk about next time I guess as well as upcoming weddings and fingers crossed a big trip into the West Coast hinterland....take care out there.