Saturday, January 16, 2010

The sound of intermittent and gentle applause, villages and the long awaited tramping trip is done

Challenge Wanaka, a long distance race which starts with swimming, then 180 Km of biking and finishes with a marathon seems established as an annual event now, and right outside my front door there is a turn around point and drink station for the hundreds of runners, so every few minutes there is cheering and clapping.

Today I set up a sprinkler for the runners and occasionally adjourn out to the road side to watch - just like hundreds of others do in town. The effect is amazing at it sort of slows down the pace of life with motorists just giving in as they give way, and strangers talk, smile and interact. I think it must be reminiscent of village or tribal life. While many locals get annoyed over this huge event I'm growing to love it's energy, and I'm not even competitive...

Rees >> Dart classic tramp:

As some of you will have noted this has been on the agenda for awhile. Officially a Duke of Edinburgh Silver/Gold trip for my son and peers. Many folk access the Dart valley from Cascade Saddle where I spent sometime a year ago on a big Search and Rescue mission, and other folk do what we did: up the Rees, over Snowy Saddle and down the Dart [note to trampers: both routes need a degree of alpine skill unless conditions are perfect e.g. dry and sunny - summer style. There are hints in the link above].

Not much more to say really except that our four boys conducted themselves very well. They usually led, while three of us parents bought up the rear. It was an awesome four days with great companions.

Rees valley on the left, with a steep aspect which would be risky when snow covered, and Snowy Creek leading to the Dart valley on the right. Note foreground figures...

Looking up the Snowy...

Mt Cook Lily in the Snowy...

Mt Cook Lily in the Snowy with Mt Edward in the background

Bridge and avalanche debris in the Snowy...

The relatively new Dart Hut down stream from the lower bridge over the Snowy...

Wonderful light and bush down the Dart near Sandy Bluff...

A troublesome-to-cross side stream near Chinaman's Bluff, near the end of the tramp...

Ending on a sombre note with a bigger picture Bob McKerrow once again has posted a very useful article on the earthquake in Haiti

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Blogger Bob McKerrow said...

Kia Ora Donald

It was a joy to read about your trip and view the superb images. Great.


January 17, 2010 at 3:11 AM  
Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
Fantastic back yard you have to roam amongst! Thanks for the virtual moments in such country while I am unable to get to such stirring places myself. I appreciate your honesty in writing how the younger fellahs walked ahead. It was humbling on my last trip with Taylor, eventhough I was admittedly somewhat handicapped with my hip, to watch him walk seemingly effortlessly up ahead. Then again, as we get older and even before my hip problem I began to discover the joys of walking more slowly and simply seeing more. And never did I arrive at any hut or campsite to find someone handing out medals for our times in getting there.
Enjoyed your observations about the races and spirit of the events as well. Years ago in the states I had a period of doing marathons and such and often on the weekends in small towns. The funnest part of the day was just the atmosphere and goodwill generated through something as simple as exercise. Have a great week.

January 17, 2010 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

Thanks for the encouragement Bob, and for your recent blogging efforts keeping us in touch with the awesome aid work in your world.



January 18, 2010 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

Hi Robb

>I appreciate your honesty in writing how the younger fellahs walked ahead.

But what was interesting was I'd arrive at the hut to find them asleep! However I think they did stop to enjoy the views, but it's just that they're so fast in between! A tramping club group however really gave me food for thought as they seemed extraordinarily regimented and I wondered if this has something to do with always being attached by an umbilical cord to city life and schedules [and maybe any medals that are about].

Anyway it's now a case of relishing the memories!



January 18, 2010 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Marg said...

there was a lovely article about the marathon on the front page of today's paper so it was a nice touch to read about it on your blog as well.

I was supposed to do the dart and rees tramp with some friends last summer but had to bail because my dad was so ill so again I liked seeing your photos.A couple of years ago a friend and I went over the greenstone caples track and enjoyed that very much. It's an amazing part of the country.
cheers Marg

January 18, 2010 at 6:40 PM  

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