Monday, June 24, 2013

Slow In The Snow

Each week I go to the mountains and each week I come back with another valuable lesson learned. Every trip spent moving in the mountains - by foot, bike or boat - provides sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious clues about how to be more at home in the hills. Being a winter novice, the lessons have been coming thick and fast lately. This week Danno, Will and myself got schooled while trying to impose our light and fast ethos after a good dump of snow in Nelson Lakes. Our pace through the deeper sections of snow meant we weren't able to complete our planned loop but we were ok with that..just another lesson learned. 

Our minimalist tarps and bivies were replaced by backcountry huts on this trip. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

It's a Start

Winter has been slow to take hold in my local hills at the northern extremes of the southern alps. We have had some good dumps of snow over the last few weeks, each one causing a buzz of excitement and a hope that the temperatures will stay low enough to herald a start to winter 'proper'. But each time the cold fronts have been followed by rain and warm northerlies, leaving only the highest peaks clad in snow. Still, over the last few weeks of hiking, biking and especially paddling, it has been cold enough to feel like the start of the season. 

Crossing icy streams is becoming less appealing

We are still getting away with unlined trail runners

Microspikes have made an appearance though

 Our packrafts will probably still get out now and then over winter

                                                                Still warmish on the trails around town

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Biking the Heaphy

From the Kennett guidebook: 'For experienced backcountry riders, The Heaphy remains a classic among classics for it's stunning scenery, amazing wildlife and the satisfying sense of accomplishment it engenders'. The Heaphy is an amazing trail, but what makes it special in my mind is the diversity. From the eastern trailhead, just inland from the clear still waters of Golden Bay, the trails climbs through native beech forest to the sub-alpine tops at around 900m. Perfect single track winds across the tops for the next 30 or so kilometres before the trail dives down to the wild west coast where huge swells smash into the almost tropical looking rainforest clad coastline. 

This winter is the last of a three year trial period for bikes on the Heaphy. It does seem unlikely that the Department of Conservation will not continue to let bikes on the trail between May and September in the future. Still, if your keen to sample this fine trail by bike you might want to book it in this year..just in case. 

                                                            Cool spiders web, Karate Monkey, Viscacha