Friday, June 29, 2007

Queen Charlotte Track Jun 12-15

My apologies for this completely haphazard post, and the complete lack there of for the past few weeks. Exams just finished Saturday, and for the past few weeks I've been struggling to fit in as much mountain biking, studying, and savoring of my final days in this great city as humanly possible.

Below are the pictures from a 4 day trip up to the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. Here's the basic gist. Narv and I went up to Picton, a tiny little town nestled at the innermost nook of the Queen Charlotte Sound. The following day we loaded our bikes on a boat and traveled an hour to the end of the sound. We began our 66k journey back to civilization in a lonely cove once used as a place of refuge by Captain Cook when he explored this part of the world. Its since been largely unchanged. Over the next two days we rode over some spectacular single track, crossing two roads, the back yards of a few secluded resorts and homesteads, and saw less than a dozen people.
Our first day (4hrs) was highlighted with brilliant sky's, but a nasty wreck early in the day on my part. The trail never challenged us with much in the way of technically demanding features, just lots of climbing and some slippery mud in places. Nonetheless, the cruisy trail had a few tricks up its sleeve for the inattentive. The crash soured the first few hours, but eventually the views and the amazing trail healed my aches and pains.
The second day, (6hrs) we rode under, and for a while within a gray sky, however, clouds nor misty rain could take away from the experience.

Day one Bus CHCH-Picton

Day 2 Ship Cove to Camp Bay

Day Three Camp Bay-Anikiwa

Day 4

I wish I could have organized these photos and provided a few captions, but I anticipated having more time to kill. Instead however I'll be taking off on Monday with some friends for two weeks of tramping and adventuring around the south island before finally coming back to chch to catch my flight to LA on the 13th. I'll be back in Vermont late on the 19th.

Monday, June 4, 2007

A return to Mt Gray and the West Coast

West Coast Tramping May 27/28

Narv and three of our friends from Ilam; Amy, Annika, Caitlin and I took a trip over to the West Coast just outsite of Hokitikka to do an overight tramp in the rain forest.

Sunrise over the Canterbury Plains

Rata, an epiphyte, (parasitic plants that start their lifecycle above the ground) started growing on the side of a lone Rimu or Totara tree in a field about 75 years ago. As it matured it sent shoots from its mossy perch to the earth. The shoots, over a long period of time, developed into stalks, and soon enough trunks, encompassing the whole of its host. The old tree may have been starved off, or just succumbed to old age, but all that's left is the stag, barely poking through the new canopy. If you study the base of the Rata however, you can see other epiphytes living on it. That's life in the rain forest for ya. This comes compliments of my time in Forestry 218, who said I wasn't learning anything here.

Heading up the Toaroha river towards camp under a typical West Coast sky

Sunset from just below Cedar Flats, where we spent the night.

The first bridge across the Toaroha to the flats at twilight

Camp at Cedar Flats

Hot Pools, 20 minutes from the hut

Gone are the clouds, tomorrow's forecast; brilliant

Sunrise over Toaroha peak


True blue in the Toaroha, gorge above the flats

Second bridge back across the gorge

Adventure Ridge Track, definitely doesn't see to many adventurers, don't know why.

Adventure Biv, should have someone in this pic for scale, my sister had a bigger playhouse than this, would definitely be a cozy night.

From above the biv site

Look at the way this little Pahautea (cedar) grows with the wind.

team shot

We had to keep it moving on the way out, and this is what we saw upon emerging from the rain forest...

May 25, Mt Gray round 2

The two American's from team Skidmark took the lead and scoped a new route on the backside of Gray.