Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My first ski for '07

I was feeling so cabin fevered today, that I had my first x/c ski tonight - I told myself to simply go and it'd be good for me and my blahs so was away at 4pm and back by 7pm. It was warmer up there than in town! Wind blew away a lot of the snow, but there is enough for the kids on the weekend, and for me to do 5-6 back and forwards runs over the same bits. In the photo if you look carefully you'll see the Lodge on the right.

There is about a km of groomed snow around the Lodge, and next week promises more. Carl is busy stretching it as far as he can for this weekend with his groomer, and he's done a very credable job. An unusal wind direction in last week's storm stripped away the snow on the likes of Mary's Trail and all corners of a similar aspect to the turning point on Highlander.

It was great catch up on my winter friends all back from overseas. I'm suspecting I may have Capt. Ron as a flatmate [decided to rent out two rooms and have some company]

Meanwhile in town here the frosts are amazing, however I hesitate to call them frosts as these have a dew [point] and they freeze white. There is no moisture about though to do this, so it's just plain b. cold! Minus ten last night easily I'd say.
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Monday, June 25, 2007

Early snow falls

After a weekend from heaven weather wise, [noting the wild snow storms of late last week[, today we're back into the "real" winter weather.

Sat. saw me instucting again [like in the old days] with Stu and Heidie on a local NZ Mountain Safety Outdoor First Aid course. I love these as they're geared to the concept of assistance being 24 hrs. away, and we have lots of scenarios. It was at our usual favourite venue - the Wanaka Yacht Club rooms down by the lake edge. Although cold with snow on the ground, the sun was out and the views magnificent.

On Sunday I helped my friend Pam, who is house sitting with her son up on the lower slopes of the Criffel Range, get out to her home in Hawea to check the routes there and back re. snow, work access for the coming week, and check the cat. She has quite a sporty car, the design of which excludes the fitting of chains, whereas I have the other extreme, my Land Cruiser Series 70 camper truck. We did a round trip through Hawea Flat, and it was just lovely with few problems presented by the ice and snow except for her home street. We then went for a long walk around the lake edge with the golden lab. she is looking after with the house.

On this note I'll close here as it looks like my Monday work load is going to be quite full.
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Monday, June 18, 2007

Weekend photo missions

Last week was a bit colder than you'd expect for this winter. An illusion is caused by having very little snow on the hills, but the cold air, which is very dry, is from climes further south. While this persists we can expect "cold" and little snow. So I was quite proud of myself getting up in this cold and heading off this Sat. morning up Mt Iron before dawn so as to be on top for the first touches of the sun. Sol turned out to be elusive however, but a hole in the clouds over Hawea Flat way gave some nice material to work with for some photos [one inc. here].

Roger is just back from Everest Base Camp and we had a great evening together a few days ago and browsed nearly a 1000 of his shots which distilled down into the best collection of big mountain shots I've ever seen. Quite an inspiration in fact.

It all went so well on Sat. I repeated it on Sunday, but with Roger and two of his friends. We were away at 6 am in well below freezing up Roy's Peak, or Mt Roy as it's now tending to be known as. It was a bit frantic as I wanted to be back by 11 am to go with Dougal to soccer. We made it, but I have to admit that the warm winter sun inspired a little snooze in me at 1 pm.
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Monday, June 11, 2007

Shifting a half a house on wheels

My cousin Trish, who lives here in Wanaka and is more like a sister to me, has been known to say "Donald, I'd call you eccentric, but you're not old enough yet for that term". I take this as a compliment! But you, the reader can have your own opinions, as I mention here that I live in a huge trailer home beside the small house I rent. The house gets used totally for work, which is another story.

This trailer has six tires, and it's been on my mind for some time to do something to stop them perishing while they sit on what used to be lawn. So this weekend, just past, seemed the ideal time, as although it's now definitely winter, the weather was superb and as I've had a cold, to "potter" in the sun seemed ideal.

The task involved cutting some tanalised boards from plywood - my idea being that the preservatives in the wood will stop the growth of bacteria. It was either that or sit each tire on gravel.

So I cut 6 of, placed them, and rolled the 3 ton unit onto them. It went really well and gave me confidence to tackle the inevitable shift one day to a new location in a speedy and efficient way. Having my wood working tools on the deck I then spent the rest of the weekend making shelves and cupboards, and also new smoother ducting for my heating system. It's very satisfying for a work intensive computer user like myself, to create using tactile means.

This Monday morning I awoke to our third serious frost, then some cloud came over, and like I said "winter is here". Lets hope for some wind so the typical early winter cloud inversion does not occur.
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Friday, June 8, 2007

Winter is here - at last!

Well it's been a stunning autumn and all the better with no fine weather high pressure systems. So far so good for avoiding the rather damp and depressing inversions so well known to locals in May and June.

However all the warmth came to an end this week, and there was much fuss made as usual about severe weather coming. But the cold blast shaped up with no warm moist air to play with so we only got a dusting of new snow down low - we're just too far inland. Now, tonight though, it's the one! It's cold, the coldest one so far - the beginning of winter and the reality of it, not all the hype, so it's pretty much as it should be.

As it turns out I've got a fairly free weekend and moderate head cold so I'm leaving my options open, but a trip west to Haast and beyond has been on my mind. No sandflies, no tourists and some warmth by the sea perhaps. I'll see how I feel after a good sleep! A break would be good, especially as I work from home.

For those of you wondering about the attached photo it's of Mt Iron a few weeks ago, but from a lesser known vantage point at the mouth of the Cardrona river.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Queens Birthday Weekend Tramping

Dougal decided some weeks back he'd do the Duke of Edinburgh Award, so amongst all the activities tramping had to be done. Something about having to achieve 25 Km, which to me is a bit meaningless as tramping in NZ is all about time, but we did it anyway. And how fitting to do the Duke's Award on the Queens Birthday Weekend!

The tramp was very full-on. Winter tramping at it's best perhaps - no sandflies and trails that were creeks. Physically it really pushed me as did the uncanny responsibility of finding the trail to the Upper Caples hut in the dark on Sat. night. Another of life's rabbits pulled out of a hat!

There is little safety margin in winter with a large group - only discretion and a bloody minded respect for short daylight hours. On Sunday we were only 30 mins. from McKellar Saddle up in the beautiful alpine shrubbery, but the group simply said "we have to go back - we don't want to be navigating in the bush again at night" . I was keen to push on, but it's as well we did go back as we had some slowness on the return.

Last night I built a web site for the boys: >> more
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