Category Archives: Photography

‘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.

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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!!  

Last Picture Taken Sunday

 

Random plant

A really random one this week! We went looking for a geocache this afternoon – which we did find. GC20841 Happy Birthday Bitsprayer   It was a short track up a steep hill that required some use of  ‘four -paw scramble.’ Pity we didn’t have any four paws with us!!!

Anyway, I took quite a few random photos of things we saw – and this was the last one.We came back down the road rather than take the chances of slithering down the hill track. This plant was on the roadside – I have no idea what it is. Not a native anyway.

Check out Tracy’s Topics  for more information about Last Picture Taken Sunday and come join in!

Last Photo Taken Sunday – Kelty

PB wasn’t in tonight, so Kelty had to do with sitting by me & the laptop instead of by PB’s computer. He sure wasn’t impressed – but I’m not sure whether it was because he couldn’t sit in his normal place & get his normal attention from PB or because I was flashing a camera in his face!!!  Or perhaps just because life is often not up to the standard that a discerning cat demands.

Kelty

There is a somewhat better photo at Flickr.  But this one is the last one for the week so here it is!
To join Last Photo Taken Sunday check out Tracy’s blog at Tracy’s Topics

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First to Find Weekend

Even though PB was on call this past weekend, we still managed FTFs on two new geocaches in town.  And we went for a third, but got muggled out.

Ducks on the water.

The first one had been conveniently placed near PB’s work. The first time we looked for it was from memory of the Google map as we were already out when PB got called. I had a bit more of a look – then went to watch the ducks  (as you do!) –  but it turned out that the map was way out.  When we went back with the GPS  I spotted almost straight away.

Sunday we went for a drive up a country road that we never knew was there before, and had a quick find on a new cache.

"Is this the right tree...?"

Then we headed to a wonderful ‘cabbage tree’ that has had a new cache placed.  Usually cabbage trees don’t seem to accumulate mosses, lichens and epiphytes growing on them – but this one has an amazing collection!!

'Cabbage Tree' or te kouka (Cordyline australis)

We almost FTFed the previous cache at this tree – after a couple of trips and a bit of Kiwi ingenuity we did get it, but we’ve not yet claimed the FTF on it’s replacement. We quickly found the (nasty) decoy,

Nasty decoy

but by this time the horsey people across the road were looking at us suspiciously so we called off the hunt before we found the actual cache. We were doing a bit of photography as cover – and PB got this lovely shot of a little snail, and I saw some little fungi.

Snail

Fungi - not sure what this one is yet.

 

It’s a long time since we’ve had two (almost three!) FTF’s in one weekend!!