Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Make sure when you check the blog you check out the comments people are making. Some raw nerves have been exposed! But I think those posting annonymous comments should identify themselves, though it is good fun trying to guess.

Busted Rings and the Mangapumarumaru

On arrival at the College carpark on Sunday it was agreed that the weather watch meant we should do Plan B which was over the Ringbuster to Brill's Hut and then back over and down the Mangapumarumaru. At that point Hedley revealed who wore the pants in his house by whispering to Kurt that he would rush home and do the housework before Teleri returned from her adventure race.

Since Barry said our planned walk would take only 5-6 hours Kurt, who had done none of the previous walks,decided he would tag along. With that Roger piled in with Karl and Jenny, and Kurt, myself, Lea, Trevor/Terry, Aaron and Barry piled into the Destry mobile and we headed up the gorge.

After a 3 k walk up the road we launched into the Ringbuster which was true to its name. From the top we got separated a little with Kurt in no-man's land between the two groups. Roger, Lea, Barry and I sat down and used the map and compass to plot our way successfully to Brill's to find Kurt had successfully stumbled across it as well.

It was then a pleasant and scenic walk north before we headed up a spur to find our way to the Mangapumarumaru. This was a huge climb of 500m. Unfortunately we missed the track and as the rain started to fall we realised that the spur we went down after the climb was incorrect. We had to scramble back up!!! and up!!! until we found the correct track.

By this time the 5-6 hours were up and we still had a fair way to go. Kurt was now digging deep. We now had close to an hour of very steep downhill which involved a lot of falling, sliding, grabbing of supple jack until we fell into the Mangapumarumaru. As we started the last few kilometres down and through the Mangapumarumaru we made a bit of a mistake. Trevor, Destry, Roger and Jenny opened up a bit of a gap between myself, Kurt and Lea when we decided to wait for Aaron, Karl and Barry. Aaron turned up to say that Karl had gone back to look for Barry. We waited for a while with no one turning up. At that point we decided to head straight up from the creek to find a track we believed was up there somewhere in the hope that Barry and Karl had found it and had gone on to the road. It was a tough scramble up through supple jack until we found the track. All ended well as we found the others at the cars but for a while it didn't feel right to me.

A couple of times earlier in the day I found myself separated from the others for a few minutes and it wasn't a nice feeling.

The whole trek took us 9 hours! and it was bloody hard work but it was another great day out testing body and gear. Kurt impressed with his determination. While he struggled on the uphill and downhill he impressed with the sitting down and eating lunch.

Hopefully some fellow adventurers will send me photos they took to post for your enjoyment.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fantasy Fulfilled!

Thank you to Lea, Barry and Trevor/Terry of the A team and Aaron, Destry, Karl and Jenny of the B Team who allowed me to fulfil my fantasy of paddling over to Pier 5 at Ohope for a beer and couple of beers before paddling home. We met Leigh, Lucy and Marg there for lunch.

The host was an odd man who wanted me to pay for my beers twice and made us sit outside the front door to eat our takeaways.

Barry now wants us to help him fulfil some of his fantasies but I'm claiming I'm allergic to glad wrap and whipped cream!

Lea enjoyed her new Tri Bear. My hunk of plastic was hard work but I didn't fall too far behind.

The weather is closing in and will most probably affect our plans for a humungous trk tomorrow. We were planning to go in at Motu and come out the Manganuku Creek via the Pakihi Heads Hut. We'll most probably have to do the ring buster to avoid being swept down a swollen creek.

I'll let you know how we get on.

Motu Road Bites Back

The Motu Road is a tough ride but when you haven't done it for a while you tend to forget how tough it is. While we were climbing the Meremere I heard Barry say it must be like childbirth. It hurts like hell but you keep going back for more.
Anyway we had a big crew; myself, Lea, Barry and Terry/Trevor from the A team and Destry, Aaron, Karl and Jenny from the B team and we were joined by the long-lost Colin Campbell, George, Roger and that freak of nature Dennis.
I'm struggling with a head cold as a result of too much close contact with Barry in the Bush so my lungs struggled every step/cadence of the way up Meremere and Papamoa where we turned around. I did really enjoy the downhill, especially when Aaron was cheeky enough to try to be faster than me and ended up with a great skid and fall off in his attempt to avoid being run over by the DOC truck.
George was struggling by the end and I did my Willie Apiata impression and 'carried' him home over the last 16k to finish in the dark. Great effort George.
The photos above show the debrief occuring.
Finished off with a great meal and company at Marg's to farewell her on her 3 month overseas trip.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

See The Wonderful View!

You're supposed to be looking at the magnificent view we got from the trig last Sunday but I've lost my photo upload button!
I've found it now, so here's the view. Well worth it!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

MTB Action

Click here to see some shots from the NZSSMTB Champs. Quite a few photos of Lucy!

Adventure Training Last Sunday

Karl, Jenny, myself and Barry up the Amokura Rd track after MTBing there and about to set off on a 3 hour trek to Upper Paerata Rd and the trig and down the pipeline. There are more photos to see but they're mostly of me though there is a classic of Lea at the top gate. Check the photos out.


Go Ben Foster on the downhill!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Adventure Race Training - Jive Time

This Adventure race training is tough. You never know what disciplines will be included. You can almost guarantee MTB, Trekking and Kayaking. But will there be tubing, rope work, dagging sheep or getting a date. You really have to practice for them all. It's good to see Karl and Jenny from the Opotiki B team practicing for the expected and eagerly anticipated Jive section!

A Walk in the Park

This Tuesday's trek was a walk in the park compared to last week though it was still tough in parts. Myself, Lea, Trevor and our leader Barry from the Opotiki A team were joined by Destry and Jenny from the Opotiki B Team along with Roger and a surprise appearance from Hedley. Young Shannon also accompanied us. There was a bit of tension in the air but Hedley and Destry coped without incident!

We climbed Prentice's Hill from Roger's which has to be one of the steepest climbs around and then through the bush to the little trig. Our reward was a magnificent evening view of the mighty 'O' all lit up.

The full moon came out as we scrambled down without incident with a good gallop along the road to Roger's. A much more respectable 1 3/4 hours, rather than the 6 hours of last week.

Have been out for a couple of paddles and realise my sea kayak is going to be hard work. On Saturday Brian, Trevor and I paddled over to the Ohope wharf to discover the bar was closed. We'll get there though because we plan to paddle over during lunch time on this Sat for a lunch and abeer before paddling home. Another fantasy to tick off!

I'm batching tonight so had a wonderful feed of fresh snapper (caught by Lucy last Sunday evening) and chips and fried onions and mushrooms. Don't tell Leigh! To top it all off I'm supping on a beer and blasting out Rolling Stones and the Beatles on vinyl! This is another fantasy I have: to own a copy of every record in the Rolling Stones Magazine February 2004 list of the top 500 albums of all time. I currently have almost 200 which includes 93 of the top 100. I'm now working my way through listening to all of them that I have in order from top to bottom! Well, you got to do something!

Long Time Coming Again

This blog is supposed to be about the interesting adventures a group of us get up to in this piece of paradise, Opotiki. Unfortunately the need to keep blogging has resulted in more and more adventures to blog about, so much so that it is difficult to find time to blog about them now!

Three big things to report on:

Sam has largely recovered from his spinal operation and returned to Invercargill today to carry on with study and life. As aresult of the operation he went from 5' 11 1/2" to 6' 1"! Sad to see him leave so soon but he feels the rest of his life calling him.

Secondly is the national Secondary Schools Mountain Bike Champs which we took 11 students to. The following was the report in the College newsletter:

A large team travelled last weekend to Levin to the National Secondary School MTB Championships. The top performers were Michael Webber who finished 13th in the U14 Boys, Lucy Abraham who finished 11th in the U16 Girls, Gabriel Buzullo who finished 18th in the U19 Boys and Gareth Owen who finished 21st in the U15 Boys. Strong performances were also put in by Hamish Drummond, Glen Baird, Cory Hagenaars, Kurt Hagenaars, Joe Stadler, Amy Podjursky and Ben Foster who had the 5th fastest downhill time for the team behind Gabriel, Glen, Michael and Hamish.

It was a great weekend away with these neat young people. Myself, Lea and Kurt from school went along with Hedley and Teleri. Lea was camp Mum and fed us superbly, Kurt was in charge of delegated logistics, Hedley was mechanic, Teleri was logistic supervisor and I was, of course, general top dog guru. Paul Owen was also there supporting his son Gareth and the rest of the team.

We had a neat atmosphere at the camping ground and everyone got on well and had a good time looking after each other. Hedley got a bit useless when he did his back in. We had to leave him behind on Sunday at camp lying on the ground and when we finally drove off on Sunday afternoon we left him lying in the gutter outside the camp waiting for an aunty to pick him up because he couldn't travel that far home.

We all arrived safely at 1.00am on Monday morning!

The final big adventure is the 24 Hour adventure training we have been doing. My team is myself, Barry, Lea and Trevor. Destry dumped Hedley and Danni and is now with Jenny, Karl and Aaron. Barry has done a great job organising training. Four weeks ago we spent 10 hours tramping from Te Waiti and back down the Pakihi. I couldn't walk for 5 days! Two weeks latewr we spent 10 hours mountain biking to the 16k bridge and heading towards Takaputahi and back to our bikes. I think I described that one in a previous post. Last Sunday was only a small 5 hours MTBing up Amokura and tramping to the Trig and back to the MTBs down the pipeline. Both teams and Jarod took part in that.

The memorable practice was last Tuesday night, you know the night that Opotiki received a month's worth of rain in a few hours? I thought we were going for a two hour run and turned up at 5.30pm in running shoes, shorts and t shirt. It was persisting down! Thankfully Shane lent me a jacket. At 6.00pm myself, Lea, Destry, Roger, and Trevor were dropped off at the bottom of Amokura and we set off. I was hoping to be back at 8.30 for a dinner date. We arrived back at Roger's at midnight! We spent an hour in the same section of creek looking for the way out as the water was rising. At 9.30 just before we slid down a slippery, supple jack infested slope to a creek to come out on the Amokura track again Roger announced we were half way. About this time I was wishing I had brought some food and water. Lea kindly lent me two bars. The dinner date was disappearing. We then tramped across Chev's farm and back to Roger's walking through some very big creeks in torrential rain and navigating several electric fences.

I missed my dinner date, but the chip and bacon butties back at Shirley's may have even been better thatn the venison we missed out on. Where was Barry you ask. He had a cold so didn't come.


Lea was a bit flat on Sunday's tramp and bike. I am assured that there is no truth to the helpful suggestion that Barry made that she might be pregnant!

Do we learn? It is Tuesday again, it looks as if it is about to rain and we're meeting at Roger's again at 5.30. If I survive tonight I'll let you know how we get on.

I know your'e missing photos. I'll have some soon. Send me some to post you training buddies.

Remember it is easy to post a comment.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sam In Recovery

Here is Sam the morning after his 7 1/2 hour operation. I am expecting him (and Leigh) home later this week if all goes well.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Long Time Coming

I was determined not to write another post until I received at least one comment about the Colville experience. Thanks Barry.

The real reasons why there has not been a posting for a while are work, work and work. However, exciting and scary events have still been happening. Kurt, Hine, Leigh, Lucy and I attended the Whitianga Bluesfest where we were entertained by many fine artists including Buddy Guy and K T Tunstall! Leigh got so excited she threw up!

When we arrived home that Sunday we went up to the Boss' where an awesome surprise party was held for my 50th. When 40 people burst through the black plastic and charged at me shouting Happy Birthday, I was speechless. And Pete's band, especially with their version of Cracker's Happy Birthday To Me, was awesome.

A few days later Leigh and I went to SPANZ conference in Nelson which was great. We had to leave a day early becuase our son, Sam, was having a major operation to correct scoliosis of his spine. He was very brave as he set off for a 7 1/2 hour operation to put steel rods in his back. Leigh is still up there with him as he recuperates.

Two weeks ago a group of us preparing for the 24hr adventure race trekked into the back of the Otara and Pakihi for about 9 hours in hugely steep country. Couldn't walk for 5-6 days after.

Thankfully, I was at conference the next weekend when the others climbed around in some different hills.

Yesterday myself, Lea, Barry, Trevor, Hedley, Destry, Roger, Danni and Tyler MTBed to the 16k bridge up the Motu Road and then tramped 18 k through the bush and hills. There was a track for some of it, but for a lot there wasn't. Danni stumbled across two wasp nests scoring 8 stings! It was pretty exciting being in the bush with a young woman ripping her clothes off to get at the wasps. Barry showed great leadership in making the blokes avert their eyes.

After trekking 8k down the stream to the bridge we then MTBed home. It was a 10 hour expedition, but not too tough. Hedley and Destry made the mistake of turning up my road and after three hours had drunk all my beer and floated around in the spa pool! Adventure race training is neat fun!