Tag Archives: New Zealand

‘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.

Memorial

 

GCAO94 

This was the first geocache that we ever found after we got our GPS. It’s a virtual and it wasn’t the first cache that we’d found. We actually already knew where it was too, but it was a way to test our newbie GPS user knowledge.  The reason we already knew that it was there is that it’s just directly across, on the banks of the River Avon, from the church that we sometimes attend when we are in the city. It’s what you saw when you stood of the steps of the church building between its tall & strong pillars.  An appropriate place for such a memorial I always thought.

But this is only a sort-of geocaching related post.

Yes, this warped metal is a 9/11 memorial, and today is the tenth anniversary of the destruction of the Twin Towers.  And yes, strangely, when I touched it on that day (with difficulty, because it’s designed in such a way that you are not supposed to touch it) the pain it contains is evident.  Somehow it seeps into your skin, and from a world away you are able to stand in sorrow beside those who lost so much that day.

Nowdays,  in my mind – as I don’t know when I’ll get to touch it again – it contains another layer of sorrow. The dust that it has most recently been covered with is that of the fallen buildings of the city of Christchurch.

This dust was not caused by the never-ending battle between the forces of good & evil, but by the power of Planet Earth shrugging its shoulders.

Who represents ‘Good’ and who represents ‘Evil’ when the original dust coated these bits of metal is beyond me to say.  But many people of all creeds, countries, faiths & colours lost their lives on that day and many days afterwards. As happened when the Earth shrugged.  And God grieves along with us at the lost of all the lives.

So now for me that memorial contains two layers of sorrow with its two layers of dust.  And I will never again stand on those same steps between those tall pillars, because they are gone. Along with the whole building and the years of history & love, faith & joy that were embedded in the pores of the building.

However, amongst the layers of sorrow are layers of hope, because a building will one day replace the one that was lost, and the love, faith & joy are never truly lost because they are still contained in the hearts & souls of those who worshipped there. As are the lives of those who died that day in New York 10 years ago never truly lost. So long as those lives live on in the memories – heart, mind & soul, of those who love them, those who remember them and those who morn them this day.

Photo Credits: memorial  from the cache page gallery & the church from an online source.

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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Machines ‘Upsized’!

I now have really big diggers & trucks tearing up the road outside my house.
My water went off this morning & when I looked out the window they seemed to be doing stuff in an ever widening pool, then a pump started up. I bet THAT little episode wasn’t on their plans.

From the spare room window

From my back gate

I’m beginning to understand why the Christchurch residents have had enough of aftershocks!!