Date: 19-20 November 2016
A lovely, sunny day to start off with.
A South Island Oystercatcher.
Following the Fern Burn river up the shadowy valley.
The fast-flowing stream is crossed via a sturdy footbridge.
Some muddy and wet patches along the way.
Very steep slopes – not for the faint-hearted.
As the valley narrows, the amount of cascades and waterfalls increase.
A sharp little turn with a sheer drop if you’re not careful, especially on the downhill.
Some very steep sections had steps to help you along.
Finally above the tree line.
The track winds its way along the ridges, offering splendid views if you have the guts to raise your eyes from the footpath.
Tiny path traversing the saddle of a hill.
The hut came into sight, but first you have to get down to the river and cross a side stream, before heading up again to reach the hut.
A beautiful tranquil spot.
Fern Burn Hut, built in 2008.
Two bunk beds – sleeps six people at the top and six at the bottom.
This is where it all happened for 18 adults and a baby.
Getting ready the next morning.
Some final photos of the hut before heading back towards Wanaka.
Fern Burn hut, set amidst the gorgeous Central Otago countryside.
Too close for comfort.
A huge slip just below the path did not fill me with confidence.
Returning along the saddle.
Finally back amongst the trees in The Stack Conservation Area.
Hesitantly making our way down the valley.
Beautiful tree-lined stream.
Another gorgeous day out in nature.
Almost back at the car, and already thinking about our next adventure.
Californian poppies by the toilet at the car park. If you don’t have lavender, poppies will have to do! 🙂
After the lovely night (albeit bitterly cold) at Meg Hut, we decided to head out for another two days on the trails. But first a good scrub-down was in order, so we spent the night at Glendhu Holiday Park to get ourselves sorted for the next trip. A quick top-up of supplies and a fresh set of clothes and we were all set to leave early in the morning. Continue reading
Date: 17-18 November 2016
Starting off on a working farm crossing a paddock …
… and some streams …
… before reaching the 4WD track up the mountain.
An Australasian harrier hanging around for some prey.
The light dusting of snow on the ridges.
Storm clouds coming in and bitterly cold.
Finally we reached the basic hut for a warm cup of tea.
Historic Meg Hut.
Although Meg Hut is quite basic, the shelter it provided from the elements felt like the height of luxury.
Climbing up a hill behind the hut rewarded us with beautiful views over the area.
The result of one of the sleet storms.
Still light outside, but time to get some heat into the hut.
Gerry tugging at the trees with a waratah.
Nothing like a fire to warm body and soul on a cold night.
Lovely sunny spot for a morning coffee.
Roaring Meg River.
Still some snow on the surrounding mountains.
Could this be Quartz Knoll peak in Criffel Range?
Nothing like a nice piece of salty biltong to keep one going.
Gigantic mushrooms popped up (overnight?) in the paddock.
Can’t remember seeing any of these massive mushrooms the previous day.
On Monday morning, 14 November 2016 at 3:30am we found ourselves on the highest point reachable by car from where we stayed, on the Dunedin Peninsula. Two hours earlier the M7.8 Kaikoura earthquake destroyed, amongst other, the scenic SH1 coastal road south of Kaikoura. A tsunami threat had been issued for the whole NZ eastern coast, and everybody near the coast were urged to seek higher ground. We were about 50 metres from the sea, and at my sister’s persistence (after frantic calls to wake us up!) we thought it is probably for the best – rather safe than sorry, as they say. Strangely enough we didn’t feel the quake in Dunedin at all. Neither did any of the other conference attendees we spoke to the next day.
Date: 11 November
Time: 4.5 hours
If you go into the woods today, you’e in for a big surprise.
Very steep incline.
Taking a break on the relentless uphill.
Up, up, up, into the mist.
The uphill presented a good workout.
At the summit.
Trig in the mist. Unfortunately that meant no views in any direction.
As the day progressed, it also became increasingly colder.
Thanks to good route markings, a fork in the road did not present any problems.
Date bread! Hands down the best thing on a very cold, rainy outing.
Don’t let Gerry’s shorts for one second make you think that it wasn’t freezing cold.
Muddy and slippery on the downhill.
Just follow the orange triangles.
The downhill was equally steep, with the last bit through grassland.
We followed the track on the right to the top, and the one on the left down again. The most popular one is in the middle.
On work trips to the South Island, we usually extend the trip and try to fit in a few hikes or runs – to make the costs of getting there a bit more feasible. And to further cut costs, we usually camp at DOC sites or stay in huts.
Gerry looked at a few options beforehand and put together an itinerary, subject to change, of course. DOC campsites are usually very basic, often with only a toilet, mostly long-drops, sometimes running water, other times water from a stream, but usually no hot water or showers. So we utilise public swimming pool showers or other public showers for a good ol’ scrub down after roughing it for a couple of nights. Continue reading
Once, on day four of a five-day event, I was just knackered. Luckily I could pull myself together and still made the cut-off for the day. This pretty much resembles my current state of mind.
Any person doing any form of physical activity is bound to have some form of injury at some point. That’s just the laws of nature. Some people are lucky and hardly ever get injuries or niggles, while others are plagued by problems. It is what it is, and what will be, will be, to quote Allan Karlsson from the Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson.
So it came about that I developed a hip niggle. I didn’t give it much thought and it was presumably just another result of my misalignment (curvy spine, fused vertebrae with sacrum, rotating pelvis, leg length discrepancy, etc). It would not be the first time I battle with a niggle and will certainly not be the last. Continue reading
It has to be said that I’m probably the biggest Buff fan ever since I first discovered these neck scarves. Was it 2003? Or maybe 2004? Just for those wondering where the name comes from, Buff is short for “bufunda” which means scarf in Spanish. It was developed around 1992 by Joan Rojas, a motorcyclist, who was looking for something to protect his neck from the wind and cold.
Will I ever forget the first five Buffs we bought. Five! Not one or two to try them out first. No, it had to be at least five. That probably consumed all our savings, but it just sounded (hadn’t even seen one in real life yet before ordering them) like the best invention since sliced bread. Continue reading