Category Archives: Nature

‘Binge’ caching?

Blog writing was always a bit of an erratic beast, however I have even surprised myself about how long it is since there were regular reports on here. Mind you, a lot has happened nationally, locally & personally to focus our minds elsewhere over the last two years.  It seems that my last frequent blogging was early last year, 2011.

February 22 last year, this generation of New Zealanders experienced the trauma of a major natural disaster.   An earthquake struck the heart of the city at 12:51pm. 185 people died, many many homes & businesses were ruined, and the on-going effects will be part of New Zealand’s future for all of us now. The trauma changed the people & face of our second most populated city forever.

As part of one of the many volunteer organisations that responded to the needs of the city & its people in the hours, days & weeks following the earthquake Annie spent almost a month in the city, and PB also had two periods of time there.

Two of our geocaching pals were significantly involved in the response efforts for their organisations, and as it happened we all finished up or had a gap in our duties on the same weekend. So,  someone declared – ‘let’s go caching.’ These pictures are from that trip around the middle of March 2011.

We packed four cachers & all their requirements into our van & off we went. I don’t even remember now if there was a specific plan. I’m guessing not – other than ‘find next’! But I’m sure the boys will enlighten me if I’ve forgotten.

Sunset somewhere along the way on the Friday night.  Somewhere between Christchurch & Tekapo maybe.

Everyone took  turn at driving – or sleeping! Some did more sleeping than others.

It appears from this photo that I did find at least one cache. But I’m afraid I wasn’t any where near fast enough to get most of them.   I guess that’s the ‘problem’ with going caching with experienced ‘binge’ & record setting cachers. Ah well,  it sure is one way to up the numbers if your stats need a bit of a boost.  We’ve got  59 finds from that weekend. And 2 DNFs. I expect there were probably a few more of each, but those are the ones that made it to my records.  Quite a lot for one weekend for us. And nothing much at all for our caching pals. (You know who you are. 🙂  )

One of my favourites and most memorable was a rough road through the stunning Mackenzie Country scenery to  a DNF.  The very spot we needed to search was occupied by mustering muggle horses and no doubt their humans were somewhere nearby. Oh well, it was a nice drive.

More fantastic Mackenzie views  – this is from Mt John near Lake Tekapo. Those who chose can walk up this little hill. Others drive. Guess which we did? We’d been here before but some of the party hadn’t and its always worth a visit for the stunning views anyways. There is an earthcache this area as well as a traditional.

We can’t even remember some of this trip now, we were that tired, but it was actually a great idea to do something crazy like this after finishing up & before going home to ‘normality.’ It allowed us to wind down &  get out of ‘emergency response’ mode. I think we would have felt very dislocated or dis-associated if we had just gone straight back to our regular routine. That in its self was a good thing to learn.

No Go for No Name

Caching has been a rare event this year for one reason or another. Last weekend we got a chance to get a few local caches with some caching pals who are moving to the great Western Island soon. I only got a couple of pictures for our five caches, but this weekend we took the dog on an adventure to get a few more  caches – and pictures!

So – from last weekend:

The view from around about  GC2M165 BGSc: Block Course Which we did not attempt. I value my arms, legs, head, spine and every other bit of me too much.   Properly equipped I’ll be more than happy to take it on.

And somewhere in there is a cache of course. Cam Bash GC3084C. We found the cache eventually with a couple of ‘suggestions’ from our friend who had already done this one.  PB was the one whose eagle eye finally spied it. It wasn’t so much that it was a bush bash to get in, as there is quite a nice little geopath now once you hop over that fallen log & head a little left, but due to being totally under cover the GPS was pretty slow to respond. So we still had to look around over a fairly wide area. And we may have found a cache, but somewhere in there I lost my sweatshirt that was tied around my waist ….. or not.

Today we went to the notorious NoName Road. There are a few caches out that way that are all ‘drive-bys’ – in the Moneydork definition of a driveby.
GC2J1Q6 Kumara Crossroads    was easy enough to get to  – the ‘cobbled ‘ road made for a bumpy ride, but other than that it’s fairly accessible, and appears to have a resident weka acting as guardian.  PB made a quick find here. And then we watched the weka for a bit.

Could be a cache in there ..... or maybe a weka .....

... definitely a weka ....

After that we were going to head a bit closer to  GCR2HC No Name, but we couldn’t make it very far at all and didn’t fancy a long walk, so we might tackle that another day from another direction.

We opted to turn left instead and try for Gc2JCB1 ‘There is no shame in having NO NAME’. This was definitely a 4WD cache tackled from this direction, but would be fairly easy to get to from the Marsden  end.

Heading in to the forest

Not many places to see the views for the trees

Had to do a bit of landscaping along the way

Some pretty bits of track

Hey Dad!!!! Don't leave us behind!!

"Yep that's the cache Mum!"

Annie made the find here with Ruger to witness the log signing and PB as photographic director.

Punakaiki Caching

Hi there to all my old & new friends!

Well, a lot of stuff has happened the seven months or so. At some point, I may post about some of it – or not. For the moment I want to get back to putting some geocaching stuff on this blog. So here is a little walk we went on today.

Here in little ole’ New Zealand, we had a day’s holiday for “Queen’s Birthday. “ It’s not actually the Queen’s birthday today.  Her big day was back in April. But for some reason we always have an honorary day off the first Monday in June.  But I’m ok with that. J

We were planning on travelling away for the weekend, but every place that we would have gone had heavy rain warnings – mind you ,so did home. We decided that if we were going to have rain anywhere, we might as well stay home in front of our nice warm fire & sleep in our own comfy bed.

However, we got a few hours of sunshine today. Yes the sky really does look this blue here – when it’s not raining.

 We went to Punakaiki for lunch and to look for a few caches.  In the end we only got one, but a walk up the Pororari River is always a worthwhile stroll anyway.

Here is a fellow we encountered along the way, who may or may not have anything to do with the cache we found. But I will say he is a familiar friend and this is the third time that we have met him lurking around on the Coast somewhere!

 

Here are some of the picture postcard views that are to be seen in along the track.  The two with blue sky we took on the way in, and the third pic as we were nearing the end of the track on the way out. You can see the sky is turning grey

 

 

 

We encountered a good number of wekas today – a family of three here (I only managed to get two in the photo) and many fantails keeping us company. They never did sit still long enough for me to get a photo though. We heard a good chorus of birds especially at the start of the track – perhaps we were making too much noise after that.

 

We also had a quick walk around the Pancake Rocks & blowholes, but despite rough looking seas and booming surge pools, the actual blowholes were totally inactive.  We didn’t even bother to take any photos as there was nothing to take pics of. We made a quick dash back to the van as the rain just started to settle in.

Hopefully we will get a bit more caching done the next few months. J

West Coast Sunset

What to do on a Friday night when you don’t actually have anything that you HAVE to do? Why, caching of course! We don’t often have a Friday night to ourselves it seemed, but we did this week – and the weather was beautiful too.

We had a little circuit out into the countryside planned. Our intention was to pick up four caches – including two puzzles that we’d had solved for awhile. However we got sidetracked by the amazing sunset …. and by the neighbour of one of the caches. He’d been getting curious about what people were doing across from his house, so he came out to have a look. So now he has a bit more of an idea about geocaching, and thinks that a scavenger hunt around the whole world sounds like a bit of fun!!

So now we’ve still go two caches for another weekend, and saw a really vivid sunset. This would have been amazing  to watch down at the beach.  Our photos don’t really do it justice. These are from three slightly different locations.

Molesworth Station

 Last weekend PB & I went for a little drive. We headed north & inland to the thermal village of Hanmer Springs from where we planned to drive through the Molesworth Station. This is New Zealand’s largest ‘farm’ – it’s really more like what my American friends would know as a ranch. Here in NZ we call these large farms that are in the back ground ‘high country stations.’ Generally these stations run Merino sheep, valued for their exceptional wool, and some cattle, but Molesworth is entirely dedicated to beef cattle.  The Molesworth homestead is the highest permanently occupied in the whole of NZ. It is at an altitude of 900 metres (about 2 950 feet.)  

Most of New Zealand is coastal and consequently has rather mild weather pretty much all year. A few places do experience ‘ continental’ weather conditions as they are far enough inland. This area is one of those – it is bitterly cold here in winter & a good part of the station may be covered in snow for up to two months. In summer it can be viciously hot & dry! (But probably not as hot as an Arizona desert.)

It is only possible for the general public to travel through the Molesworth between the end of December & the beginning of April each year.  It’s 26 kilometres (16 miles) from Hanmer village to Acheron – which is the start of the trip from this end, then the part of the trip between the Acheron & Molesworth gates is around 60 kilometres (a bit under 40 miles) and finally the trip out the Awatere Valley at the Blenheim end of the Station is a further 100 kilometres  ( around 60 miles.)This is almost all on unsealed gravel roads. It’s not exactly a 4WD trip, but it is pretty slow & rough – and dusty, dusty, dusty!!

 We had planned to do the trip last summer, but cancelled due to family illnesses, so this year when we unexpectedly had a three day weekend free, we  went for it! The weather was perfect. Hot clear & sunny. Not perfect photography conditions though, but we still got some scenic and interesting shots. So – go look at the slide show & comments to see how our journey went.

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Gallery

Lake Kaniere

This gallery contains 8 photos.

 I wanted to share a few more photos of our weekend trip, so I’m trying out the new ‘Gallery’ format that this blog theme has. PB took most of these photos – the better ones of course!!  

Lakeside Weekend

 We are road trip kind of people – kind of a ‘vacational’ hazard of being  geocachers. However this past weekend we went to the lake with a bunch of people that we know from another club that we are in.  Admittedly we are somewhat pretenders to this particular group. We consider a 4-5 hour tramp (hike) a hard day’s exercise, and to them it would just be a short stroll. But never mind, we can all aspire to something!!

And we had a really fun time actually staying in one spot, for two whole days!!! We only found two caches, but we may have inspired a couple of families with young children to take up caching, so it’s all good. J

We went to a place called Hans Bay on Lake Kaniere. It was a really busy spot right on the lake front, but there was a quieter spot or two up in the camping area and some other bays & walks where it was possible to be the only people there. 

We did a reasonable amount of walking – 10 kilometres that I measured, and lots of other incidental stuff (it was quite a trek from our camping spot to the toilets in the middle of the night!!)

A really beautiful walk in this area that we did part of is the Kaniere Water Race Walkway . There’s one cache on this part of the walkway and the children we were with had fun finding it (and I’m pretty sure some of the adults had a bit of fun too!!)

Earlier in the day PB and I canoed out to this cache:  The Floating Ball of Memories.   We have no idea about the cache name, but it was a wee adventure for us to get out there! We borrowed an inflatable double canoe from one of the families, and showed our novice skills be going around & round several times before we made it out to the island.

This is the view back to the ‘mainland’ from our landing spot.

PB scouting out the way forward on top of the island.

 

We did do a bit better on the way back though. Not quite so many circles!

One of our new young friends & her ‘mom’ came & found it too, after they figured out who the strange people were shouting at them from the island. We could see them – but they couldn’t see us!  

We also picked up the cache: Moneydork’s Launching Pad, and hid a cache of our own: Rose Creek, at a peaceful little spot we found, on our first evening walk, just a little further around the lakeside. There is also a couple of caches near the beautiful Dorothy Falls 

We’d found these one on a previous trip, but we still drove round to look at the waterfall & the lake views. The lake was very high this weekend – usually it is possible to walk on a little white sandy beach at the lake’s edge here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also got in a bit of swimming (you won’t catch me putting any pictures of that on here!!)  – you didn’t notice how cold the water was once you were numb, and a bit of reading,

and provided support to the eeling party. 

Most of the rest of the group were too squeamish to tie the meat onto the string, but I have done way more gross things in biology labs, so it was no big deal. We saw two big eels – we didn’t actual ‘catch’ them as such, but they sure were attracted to the meat, and the junior scientist amongst us was delighted and would have stayed there all night trying to get them to come to the surface!! So, an awesome weekend, beautiful weather, interesting new friends of all ages, and fun activities.    

Let’s do it again next year!