Monday, October 30, 2017

Kaikoura Peninsula Walk

Well, today’s plan was another walk. This time I didn't want to send my poor car through the gruelling track to the bottom of Mt. Fyffe. To much of that and it won't have any shock absorbers left to carry on driving.
So today I decided to do the Kaikoura Peninsula walk. Last time I was here I also did that, but today promised to be much nicer weather (again). Setting off, it was actually a bit to hot for my liking, as I started sweating straight away. But, well, summer isn't like winter. If it's to hot you just have to suck it up, as there comes a point were you can just not take any clothes of any more (especially in public).
The walk to the start of the Peninsula track took me through a bit of the town, past some historical sites and a roadside shop selling cooked crayfish. Might have to try that at some point, never had crayfish before. The beginning of the actual walk is where a decent amount of seals come to laze around on the rocks in the sun, so on good days there are a lot of other people there taking pictures of them. As I've already seen a fair share of seals I skipped that part and carried on straight to the walking track. 
Up on the hills you walk along a mowed grass track taking you to different points explaining different things about the history and environment. Down bellow I could hear seals calling out and I think most of them would have been the young ones from what I know and could catch from the sounds. There are some tracks down closer to the colonies, but I decide to carry on and after an hours walk ended up in the South Bay of Kaikoura. The town has also expanded in to here and today it was especially busy, due to a horse race being on. With my unpredictable allergic reactions to horses (seems to only happen in spring around said animal) I stayed clear of that and went back up the hills to get to the town centre and the accommodation I have there. Quick two hour walk with a lunch break in between, a lot of black birds hanging around and not to many people.

Distance: 10.5km

Time: 2 hours

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Mount Fyffe, Kaikoura

Quite a bit has happened since the last blog update. So much for keeping things updated more regularly...
All throughout September we worked at the ski field, with not as many closed days as at the start of the season. Had some fun times on and of the field with most of the staff, be it skiing or hanging out.
Then came October, with the last week of the season being the holidays of New Zealand. Considering that the holidays were in full swing, the weather did not really cooperate. We had one really nice day on a Saturday and the rest of the week was a mess of cloud and rain, even a bit of snow at some points. The last day was one of the most interesting by far. Standard procedure every year at Porters is, that at the end of the last day all the staff help pack up the area. This means that all the fences, all the spring boxes of the Tow-bars and all the crash mats get tidied up. We finished all that at about six o'clock in the evening, after having closed down the lifts at about two PM. Mark and me had some of the best jobs, as we were on T2 and T3. The weather was absolutely horrific at the bottom and at the top it was blowing a snowstorm. So much in fact that the Tow-bars had to be closed to the public, so ski patrol could do avalanche work. Means Mark and me got a few free runs in on the safe stretches and it was really good snow. A nice finish for the end. Later whilst packing up the spring boxes at T3 one of the ski patrols released a small avalanche, which, had it carried on to far, might have gotten us whilst we were working.
The next day we had the end of season party. After the whole staff devoured and entire lamb on a spit we had a bit of a party at the Longframe (workers hut) up on the mountain.
A few days later the whole Benmore crew went for a last day in Christchurch. Thanks to Nicks organisation in Sheffield we ended up doing some climbing in a forest where they had set up routes through the trees. Doing that I noticed how unfit I have become. Either the ones in Pfronten are easier or I just haven't kept up my exercise (I reckon later). Concluding that we (after some heavy debating) went and had an all you can eat meal in one of the restaurants around the town, before heading out to Hanses parents place for a last few drinks. After the goodbyes, Mark and me returned to Benmore, and so ended a fun few months at Porters. 

A week later I got a call from Dean (my boss at a hay contracting job) if I was available (yes) and if I wanted to go work up near Kaikoura. The town had suffered a severe earthquake about a year ago, and the recovery works are still under way and will be so for a long time. As I am still saving up money to go sailing with Dad once he sets of, I agreed and later the next day saw me driving a tractor up to Kaikoura to help with transporting stuff in a trailer where trucks can't go. The first three weeks was pretty much just work and getting stuff sorted out (inductions, picking up my car from Sheffield, etc.) but today was the first day I actually managed to go out and do something.
Last time I had been to Kaikoura I'd done a walk up one of the mountains, called Mt. Fyffe. The weather was not the best that time and I was also battling a cold, but needed something to do.
So here I was again, this time felling healthy and a nice day out and about (also testing out a new calorie tracker). The drive there went across some gravel roads which I don't think my car enjoys to much and after having a fast change of clothes at the bottom in the car park I started walking up. Man, am I out of shape, but I still managed to get further than last time. I had lunch at a lookout point a fair way up and then continued further up for another 20 minutes to see the other side of the mountain. Going all the way up is slightly out of area of comfort right now, as the top turns in to rather alpine terrain. About three hours from the bottom there is a hut you can stay in and the top is about five hours from the bottom up. So after snapping a few pictures just after the lookout point I turned round and went back down. This is the part where I miss having a bike, but the gradient is rather step in the first half. Still, my legs noticed the downwards walk more than usual.

Once back in the car and heading for Kaikoura I met James on the way (a work colleague) and had a wee chat.