Daily Archives: November 19, 2009

Autum Retrospective

or rather 'Leafed Over.'

'Leafed Over' vs ' Iced Over' ?

So, that’s our first month on broadband –yes, we’ve finally joined the civilized world after quibbling over the expensive of it for months. It does look though like we haven’t purchased  ‘enough’ for our base plan as PB has already had to buy me a couple of top-ups during the month.  But, I waffle and digress……

Does this photo seem somewhat familiar? It’s one of a series taken at the cache Iced Over, another of which has been used for the header photo for this blog.          

I was reminded by the autumn photos on the blog, Where the Fatdog Walks,  that I intended to write a post about my header photo. As I change the photo from time to time I will also add a post about the photo.

I have a fondness for autumn photos, perversely because the part of the country I live it does not really have distinctively visual changes of season. So I’m always on the look-out for lambs and blossoms in spring and golden leaves in autumn when we are travelling.

On this trip in April 2008 I got a good dose of autumn colours. Our caching trip took us from Geraldine to Fairlie and past Lakes Tekapo & Pukaki and down the Waitaki Valley. We found 31 caches on our journey between Geraldine and Oamaru, and enjoyed the stunning autumn  show along the way.

Some of the highlights in the many postcard perfect settings are illustrated by the photos below.

Sheep thieves!

Sheep thieves imortalised

This short multi – A Dog’s Tale GC17F6X  – is in the little settlement of Fairlie at the start of the “Mackenzie Country”.  This statue of Mackenzie and his dog Friday is the first WP. James Mackenzie was rouge and outlaw who made his name in sheep theft. His exploits are part of the early history of this area, and his ‘fame’  is such  that the area now bears his name. He is reputedly of Scottish origin and an interesting read can be had here  telling more of his story.

We must have collected our numbers correctly for the cache as we found the final to be not too far away – close enough that whichever direction you are travelling this cache is quite accessible without great delay to your travels.

The next cache I would like to highlight is  Te Kopi Opihi GCTF57.  Te Kopi Opihi is the Maori name for this pass, known as Burke’s Pass to the Pakeha.   Burke’s Pass has its own little website with some brief  info.

The inscription on the monument reads:

“To put on record that

Michael John Burke,

a graduate of Dublin University

and the first occupier of Rancliff Station,

 entered this pass—known to the Maoris as Te Kopi Opihi—in


Oh, ye that enter the portals of the Mackenzie to found homes,

 take the word of a child of the misty gorges

 and plant forest trees for your lives!

So shall your mountain facings and river flats

 be preserved to your children’s children and for evermore.


This pass is 2,200 feet above sea-level.”


Words we could do to heed still today about planting trees rather than chopping them down!!!

Te Kopi Opihi

Thoughtful monument

Just a little further on, if you are journeying south, is a cache called Dog Kennel Mackenzie GCA42C,  which is near a small cairn marking the location of an historic ‘boundary dog’  kennel. This would have been the home of a dog that was chained here semi-permanently to prevent the property owner’s sheep wandering in the days when there was not a fence.  This link shows a picture of the site: Dog Kennel Corner.  Personally I wonder how often the poor creatures got fed, and whether these canine guardians actually spent their time daydreaming of when a sheep would get close enough to provide a small dinner-time snack.

The cache itself here was not an easy find, and not a very pleasant area for searching due to its unfortunate use as a ‘convenience stop.’  However the location is another intriguing little bit of New Zealand history, and worth a few moments pause in your journey, even if you decide not to look for the cache.

Turquoise Treasure

Church of the Good Shepherd

This next picture is pretty much a New Zealand tourist cliché, if ever there was!  This is the Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo.  This link to the NZ Historic Places Trust  gives the official information about the building.   The reason we were taking our picture was to complete the Earthcache Tekapo, the Turquoise Treasure GC18045, which we did on a rather chilly autumn day. I think if we had been here earlier it would have been lovely, but as it was, we got here later in the day and the shadows of the mountains were beginning to fall over us as we were collected our information and taking the required photos.  If one were to search of Flickr or any other photo site, I’m sure a thousand similar photos to this one  – and the church from every other angle possible – have been taken  by passing tourists!!

It is truly a stunning location however, and the view out the altar window inside is awesome in almost any weather.  So if you’re travelling/caching this way it must be on the list of places to spend a little time at.

Another little bit of doggy history of New Zealand is the nearby monument of a collie dog.  (we don’t appear to have a digital pic of this one at present.) The article here from a local newspaper, shows the statue – unveiled in 1968  and carved by a local woman Innes Elliot, then sent to England to be cast in bronze –   as well as explaining  the history.  The monument remembers the part that the humble sheep dog played in the settlement and management of the surrounding area.The local Member of Parliament is quoted as saying to one of the other guests:

 “Even during your term as governor-general you are destined to see many changes in the Mackenzie. Science and modern technology will play a vital part, but the shepherd’s friend and servant, the sheep dog, will remain to muster the profits of pastoral progress.”

And this is in fact  the case as New Zealand’s large back country sheep stations still complete their muster in the traditional way, on horseback with their sheep dogs at their heels – even though there may be aerial support in the way of a helicopter of light plane to direct the shepherds to the mobs of sheep to speed the process somewhat!  

And that brings me back to our original photo and cache – Iced OverGCPC00, now archived.  The cache itself here is(or at least, was) a relatively quick find  just off a parking layby.  The little pond, on the other hand, was one of those tiny perfect spots that most folk just blindly drive past,  but we are fortunate to be shown by the hunt for a small plastic box.  The leaves were literally floating just below the water’s surface, the ducks were paddling amongst them, and an image of peace and serenity was created the stayed in the mind for a good while.

I believe in the depths of winter the pond does ice over enough to skate on, and if you look at the cache log for July 10th 2009, you will see a new meaning to ‘iced over’. Will provoke a sympathetic laugh amongst many cachers!

There are a number of other caches in these areas as well, I’ve only mentioned a few that particularly stand out for me after 18 months of so, and I plan to continue with the rest of our journey down the Waitaki Valley in tomorrow’s post. 

What’s your favourite season, and do you have photos online that show it?

Coments most welcome – everyone should find it much easier to comment on this blog now that I have changed a few settings!