Sunday, May 8, 2011

Queen's Birthday long weekend

So what did you do for our long NZ holiday weekend?

For me every holiday break usually elicits a few memories of trips in our mountains. With the short daylight hours this time of year and accompanying biting cold some memories are quite vivid:

A long ways up the Dobson Valley which runs into Lake Ohau. Using my old truck was always wonderful as it got us to some great spots you'd never really want to walk in to, but keeping it alive in such cold was always a challenge, e.g. in and out of water meant the brake shoes would freeze onto the drums when stopped for awhile. This old hut was burnt down not long afterwards when a Twizel resident decided to visit and clean his motor-bike fuel tank with the aid of a candle! ...

In the mid 70s a group of us decided we wanted to become ski mountaineers. There were no teachers in New Zealand in those days except for the mountains. So making sure all our experiences would be small ones we cut our cloth accordingly and did easy summer trips in winter. Many a Queen's Birthday long weekend we'd carry our skis up to the old [actually second, now replaced by a huge third] Muellar Hut above The Hermitage. It'd always take us over six hours and every trip was wild, what with storms, darkness, cornices, ice and avalanches. Roger was our most talented skier, so he'd occasionally take a little air...

Closer to my new home in the 80s at Wanaka there was always Black Peak [Lake Wanaka in the background] or some early skinny ski [Nordic] touring on the nearby Pisa Range...

Canadian Keith shows how it's done on the Pisa...

Dot cooks in the sun - an illusion of warmth...

And what did I do this year 2011, for this long weekend break? I stayed at home, and this was a restful option, but each year is different!

Oh, and I scanned some more old colour slides as above.

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