Sunday, 30 December 2012

End of 2012

With the world not ending and the year finally seeing its last day I feel it's only appropriate that I take time to reflect on what has been an amazing year.

The year started with a new job and a fresh beginning. The at the time girlfriend basically moved in and I started realise that this woman was the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

After a couple of months I took Chelsea down to a secluded beach and proposed. About 8mth later we had our wedding at the beautiful Gordonton church.

We went to Wellington and as far north as the cape

I found well over 1,000 caches and completed several tramping adventures.

I ended this year with a night fishing trip and having my last ever Mother energy drink.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Royal Standard Battery

Day 3 of the Christmas holiday and it was time to head off on another adventure. This time it was one that the wife was able to tag along.

We organised ourselves the night before so when we woke up we could leave straight away. The body is getting into holiday mode as we didn't leave Whangamata till 8am. It was a short drive to Quarry rd and by 8.30 we were ready to start the walk. The DOC sign said the whole loop would take us 3hr 30min so we were ready for a descant stroll, what we were not prepared for was the mud. This is only Chelsea's second hike so she was still in the 'try and dodge the mud' state of mind.

Seeing the new bridge made us both grateful as after the recent weather the river was a little high. If we had to use the ford we would had gotten very wet.

There was a lot of cool sights to see with cuttings for the old trains still clear and every now and again sections of rail tracks still visible. The glimpse of the stream and boulders kept us interested wondering what it must have been like working here back in 1890's.

We eventually came to a clearing that had another DOC sign - 10min to the battery and 30min each way to the waterfall. We decided to take the 10min direction as we thought the cache might be that close. Turns out it was at the waterfall so had to make the full 30min walk anyway. Glad we did however as there was so much to see. A fun tunnel to walk through, making our shoes wet through, mines to search, swing bridge to walk and waterfall to view.

Clearly collecting the cache here was high on the priority list and I searched the whole length of the tunnel, finding many cave wetas before eventually finding it only 3m from the entrance.

With the cache found and a snack had we decided to complete the loop track. We left the tunnel and crossed the swing bridge. turning right we headed up the hill and begun to wonder if we were on the right track. It kept going further from the car and climbing. Thankfully it eventually turned and headed back down stream, and by down I mean down. It was a very slippery slope down and I was impressed that the wife stayed on her feet.

Glad we completed the loop as it was a pleasant walk and we were back at the car at 12 so it took us about 3hr total. A real fun day out and well worth the walk. Now heading back to Whangamata for lunch and a swim.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Maratoto Monster

What a monster this one turned out to be. Every time we visit the batch up at Whangamata this peak with its cache sitting proudly on top is always the closest. Now that normally wouldn't be a problem except that to get to the start of the walk its a hour drive from home. This holiday was going to be the time when finally I climbed to the top and claim both the peak and the cache.

I'm always one to make sure that I'm prepared for the walk ahead of me and this time was no different. I read the logs closely and looked at the picture of where to park. Unfortunately that was about as easy as it would get for us.

We arrived at a little car park on the LHS and with a great view and stream access sign I assumed we were in the right spot. Assume wrong. My partner in crime, Ashley (as you never tramp alone) and I proceeded to search around for about 10min trying to find a way across the stream and the start of the track. Eventually I just bit the bullet and crossed the stream to explore the paddock. Success. I managed to find a well established track that was wide and easy to follow. The track crossed a smaller stream about 5-6 times before disappearing. We decided to just keep walking up stream and hope to stumble back upon the track. By this stage we had seen a grand total of 3 orange track ribbons. With wet feet and moods low we got to within 300m of the cache. A plan to carry on for 10mins bush bashing was made and depending on how we went was whether we carried on to the summit or turned back.

The monster got us again. It lured us up the steep slope with a sent of reward. 150m away the beast bit and we have the cuts to prove it. We struggled and clawed our way metre by metre to the top. Several times we slipped and came to sheer cliff faces. After about 2 1/2 hrs of battling with the monster we finally got to the summit.

That wasn't the end however. After quickly finding the dry cache we started our descent. We thought that once we got to the top the way down would reveal itself but the monster wasn't ready to give up its secrets. We searched all over the summit but there was no easy way down. We decided to head back the way we came but even that wasn't easy going, steep drops and not seeing where your steeping was treacherous. Eventually we found our way back to the stream and later the car.

Total time 4hr

Be Rude Not To

Having unpacked and gone to the supermarket, watched stargate and played a couple of games it was time to head to the beach.

On going outside we found it was still really muggy, with the air fill of water and dying to rain we made our way to the beach. It was beautiful. Sun shining and happy people everywhere it was clear that summer was in full swing. What we hadn't counted on was the easterly that would be blowing in. It had turned the sea to a giant washing machine, throwing water everywhere. It was surprising to see so many young and old, enjoying the water, as for me ill wait a little longer before taking a dip.

Chelsea and I enjoyed our walk down the beach taking in the fresh air. A great way to start our holiday

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Day 1

Got up nice and early to pack our bags and head off to the beach. We were taking with Ashley on Christmas Day and organised to pick him up so that he can get an extra day at the beach.

Ended up leaving Hamilton at about 09.30 and made our way to Paeroa. Why Paeroa? I head you ask, simple, there was a cache there that I HAD to pick up. Turns out that it was a quick grab at both locations (it was a multi) and we were back on the road

Was quite surprised at how empty the roads were. Saw a couple of cops out and about but with no crashes or long lines of traffics it was an enjoyable drive to Whangamata. Stopped in at Waihi to grab yet another cache and some groceries.

Now I'm yet to mention that Ashley was not the only passenger that we were carrying. We also decided to bring Charley. I was a little worried that the trip may cause him a bit of distress but in actual fact he seemed to enjoy the ride. Only after a couple of minutes was he back to chirping, cleaning, and eating. Now that we are in Whangamata he is super happy outside relaxing at the beach.

4hr into day one and already grabbed 4 caches. Not bad

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas is close

With the first week of the holiday almost gone already and Christmas Day now just 2 days away things are starting to get busy... and exciting.

I have been super lucky that over the past couple of days I have been able to go caching quite a lot.  Went up to Auckland with Steve on Friday to collect a whole lot and was a little unprepared.  Forgot to take any water with me and didn't really understand just how long the hike was going to be. Don't get me wrong it was absolutely beautiful looking out over some of the bays and a really nice bush walk but with the heat in the sun blazing down it wasn't long before I was dehydrated.  As it is this month has been the best ever, in terms of my caching stats with me collecting 181 caches this month alone.  I still have about 20 planned to do while up at Whangamata over the week between Christmas and New Years.

2012 Calendar

Its been a great year for my start and I have almost cached on ever day in December and January. Got a lot to do in February next year but apart from that I should be on track to fill in my grid.

Anyway, back to Christmas. Chelsea has been getting more and more excited the closer that Christmas Day gets. She is always asking if she can just open one and her latest  ploy was to try and convince me she was part German and that Germans open their presents on Christmas eve.  Nice try honey but you can just wait.

Not really sure what else is not worthy in my life but I know it has been really really busy.  Im looking forward to getting away over Christmas and doing some more exploring and adventuring.  I know Chelsea want to just relax but there is a part of me that just can't sit still.

Welcome to the family

Charley in his cage

Can you believe it, another addition to the family and so close to Christmas.  It was the 14th of December at about 12pm when I received a phone call from my lovely wife.

"Babe...." she asked in such a lovely voice "I was wondering..." and now I knew she wanted something, "could we get another pet?"  It was to be expected that eventually she would ask me for a dog as she has been going on and on about it for so long. But to ask to keep a bird, that was unexpected. She then proceeded to tell me this lavis story about how the builders at her school found it under the building and it looked sad and needed a home. "We will be rescuing it" was here sales pitch to me.

Now I'm not one to really care about animals and birds even less but having a happy wife means I have a happy life.  I said to her that if she could organise someone to look after the bird while we are away over christmas and camping then she could keep it.

That wasn't enough for Chelsea. She found a cat cage to keep the bird in and brought the bird to school so I could see it.  With 20 kids in my class all seeing the birds and saying I should keep it I could hardly tell her no.  A cleaver tactic on her behalf.

Anyway the bird survived the first night at home and we brought it a cage the next day.  Chelsea decided to name him Charley because he likes to bite fingers.  Charley is now a very happy cocketeil whole loves to chirp and climb.  We are working hard on getting him use to being touched and sitting on our shoulder.