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Published: January 27th 2010
The Five Passes tramp began with a farewell at Auckland Airport. Son Sam (24) was returning to Sydney and taking back with him a pretty stunning tattoo. Here Ross and I have persuaded him to lift his shirt in the international terminal and we are pointing out where we live - me from Auckland and Ross from Leigh. Before the tattoo was done, Sam asked me to come along with him to the Dermagraphic Studio in Ponsonby for the initial consultation. I felt honoured to be included in such a personal decision. Later, I dropped back to see the work in progress and to meet the young tattoo artist. Sam said it didn't hurt too much at the time, and afterwards it was like having a bad case of sunburn.
Feral Mike and The Beast of Burden are Back Gentle Readers, by the time you read this the solo bike ride will be about to resume. I fly from Auckland to Wellington tomorrow (Friday, 29 January 2010) to unshackle the Beast and free him from the dungeon where he has lain for the past few weeks. Together we take a ferry to Picton and the adventure resumes.
In the meantime, here's a little of what's been happening since the journey went on hold.
Tramping - The Five Passes
This was the adventure highlight of the summer. A tough tramp in Mt Aspiring National Park. It ranges through rugged, stunningly beautiful country in an area where there are no huts and few tracks. Finding your way can (and was to) be an issue.
But I had The Dream Team to travel with - three very fit individuals all with lots of outdoor experience, though not necessarily tramping. And we were fortunate that the weather never deteriorated to the point where it caused us problems.
This tramp doesn't get a lot of traffic and help was always going to be a long way off - so
It's a Highway
The Five Passes tramp begins from the same place as the popular Routeburn Track, near Glenorchy. I was amused by the sign warning of traffic.
we took an emergency locator beacon and a mountain radio so we could get weather forecasts and report in with our location and intentions. The four of us shared two small tents, but on two of the six nights we stayed in rock bivvies - natural shelters provided by the huge boulders that litter the landscape in places.
I think all four of us found The Five Passes a challenging tramp. Two of us sprained ankles, twice we made mistakes with our navigation and became 'temporarily dislocated', and on one occasion we accidentally became seperated into two groups of two - never a wise move in rugged country. We lost a water bottle and a fuel bottle (fortunately on the second to last day and we had just enough fuel for our second stove). But otherwise we came through the trip unharmed and in excellent spirits.
Ross - you're a trooper. Reliable and steady, and once again I loved your dry sense of humour. Stephen - another reliable, positive person to tramp with. Thanks for the excellent work as our radio operator. That 'broadcast voice' certainly got the messages across. And Vicki, it was a pleasure to meet
The Rock Burn
This river provides the easiest access route into the region we wanted to visit. The picture was taken from alongside our first campsite.
you and have the opportunity to enjoy your company. Any suggestions for next time, anyone?
Sailing in the Hauraki Gulf
Judy and I spent seven days sailing in the inner Hauraki Gulf. We deliberately stayed close to home this year as Judy is recovering from a fractured leg. The weather was kind, the wine and food was fine but the water was cold.
Pedalling in the Pedal Car
We used my little Fraser kit car for a car camping holiday for a week in Northland, so I could show Judy one or two of the places I'd visited on the Beast of Burden. It was a lot of fun, and often in campgrounds we would be joined by petrolheads who would ask me technical questions I struggled to answer.
Tot: 0.713s; Tpl: 0.074s; cc: 9; qc: 51; dbt: 0.029s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb