Saturday, February 26, 2011

8: Arrow River Loop

Much though Pollyanna has always annoyed me, I am going to have a ridiculously glass-half full moment. I am currently injured and trying to strengthen my knee, which means I can't run as much as I'd like to and have to spend hours in the gym fiddling around with free weights, Swiss balls, resistance bands, and various other instruments of torture. It does mean, however, that I can walk with friends the routes I usually run and take my camera so I can admire the rushing water and dappled pathways.
The dopey dog takes a break from the walk to hunt for stones in the river - there are quite a few to choose from.

I'd smell the flowers if there were any, but as there aren't, I can content myself with photographing toadstools.
The Mischievous Minx and her mum (seeking refuge in Arrowtown from the Christchurch earthquake) pause for some rest and reflection, before pressing on with Dopey Dog and the Great Galah.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

7: Sir Pounce-a-lot

Lord Chester of Arrowtown has many names, including Fluffy Tum, His Furry Purryness, Flop Monster, Menace-a-forethought, Priscilla Cat of the Wardrobe, and Sequin Boy to name but seven. Here he demonstrates why he is also known as Sir Pounce-a-lot!

I haven't quite got the hang of the self-timer in this attempt to crop my head from the photo, but at least both the cat and I are in it!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

6: Rhubarb; rhubarb

Him Outdoors says the rhubarb in our garden has gone bananas, which would clearly be a botanical miracle. Okay, so it hasn't started producing curvy yellow fruit, but I have managed not to kill it, which (with my plant track record) is an almost bigger miracle.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

5: Lake Lochnagar

Last weekend the opportunity presented itself to go to Lake Lochnagar. I have heard great things about this place. In fact CJD says it is his favourite place in the world, and as a farmer and long-distance runner, he's seen more than his fair share. He got permission for us to head into the wilds and so we set off across the rugged landscape like some middle-aged not-so-secret seven.

The boys ran and biked from here to the sixteen-mile hut, while Squirt drove us in the 4WD. As the day wore on, the weather cleared, the clouds drifted away and the sun shone down on us.

This shaky bridge that the boys negotiated was interesting...

CJD waded across the river, Squirt drove, and the rest of us took the bridge.

This is not the hut we stayed in. We walked in from here though.

Even though the rivers were safely navigable, the flying fox was too much fun to resist.

Lake Lochnagar was stunning and well-worth the five-hour (with a sore knee) hike up to it through some of the most vicious vegetation in the country. My legs were ripped to shreds but I bathed them in the clear cold water and iced the knee.

The boys took a (very) wee dip in the lake, while we sat around the edge for a refreshing rest before setting off again.

The mountain on the left is Lochnagar itself...

...and this lake is Little Lake Lochnagar.

That sheer face is created by a rock slide - we all agreed that it would have been impressive to see, from a safe distance.

Didn't quite manage to get the self-timer right!

It's just easier to get other people to take the photos.

Not a bad view from the hut window (they use this hut in the BNZ advert)

This may well be on the extreme end of the nature trail scale; still, it's nice to know what's been lacerating our legs.

This is our 'hut' - luxurious isn't it? We were the first to use the newly-installed flushing toilets and hot showers, and after a full day's 'tramp' they were very welcome. We were with farming-types so there was no roughing it. They brought the pork bones and veal patties (from their own stock) and the lemon loaf (home-baked); we brought the salad, and we all brought plenty of wine (and Pimms - for drinking on the verandah, dahling).

After a hearty meal and a few tipples we fell into our beds and slept until Him Outdoors woke us all up to look at the stars ('look how they shine for you') - he'd never seen so many, 'and that's just one galaxy...' (yes, he'd had more than a few). I have to admit that even to a very sleepy and bed-loving person such as me, they were pretty amazing.

The next morning the weather wasn't quite as flash, but we didn't care. We had bacon and eggs for breakfast, then drove back out of the valley (Him Outdoors and CJD ran, being nutters and gluttons for punishment) to explore Skippers Canyon.

This view shows both the school and the old bridge at Skippers.

This statue along Skippers Road is quite gorgeous. The stone shepherdess gazes petrified out across the canyon to the school - I imagine she is late for class and wondering how the hell she can get there on time. I'm probably completely wrong, but I haven't got any details so have just made up my own story. Anyone care to enlighten me? Dairy Queen, do you know?

CJD points out the way - yup, that's him in disguise. The cone head may conceal his identity, but those legs are more than revealing!

The old bungy bridge 71 steep-sided metres above the Shotover River is not for the faint-hearted. As you can see, Spick has the heart of an ox.

Thanks to all the crew for a great weekend!