Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coppermine Saddle

Well, well a lot has passed since my last post. Two much study and biking. The passion for the back country is still there, but biking has taken my focus and will continue to until February when I compete in my second Kiwi Brevet. As most of you will know this is a self- supported 1200km bike race round the upper south island. 50% on rode and 50% off road. One hell of a mission, but worth every bead of sweat. Going to share the adventure with a fellow OB instructor Pip Russell. I will be riding it for charity as well and hopefully raise some well needed funds for a deserving charity. So there will be some training missions coming up and the back country will be included in as many as possible. So this ride here is the Coppermine. The start is exactly 205 pedal strokes from my front door step.
             It follows the old dun mountain walkway up to third house. The climb is very gradual through some lovely beach forest. Not long after you leave third house you enter into some beautiful alpine terrain and onto Coppermine saddle. Really quite stunning scenery and not hard to see where it gets its name from as the rock and soil is copper colour. The Coppermine saddle is 820m above sea level and is part of the Richmond Ranges. They have just up graded the down hill section down into the Matai valley. They have done a fine job for this making it fast flowing but leaving some technical rocky sections in. Near the bottom you enter into beach forest again.
Near the bottom you enter into beach forest again where the riding is fast and smooth all the way to the Matai river. Wow, I'm always so blown away at what is on the door step, within a few hours i find myself in such a beautiful place. Well to more back country riding and the Kiwi Brevet. Pedal on Gilby.
For more info on the Kiwi Brevet

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Beauties of Winter

Lake Matiri

Just over last few months, here in Nelson we have been blessed with absolutely sublime snow and weather to boot. I have had the chance to get in the ranges for three really good trips. They were all based in the Kahurangi National Park. The first trip was up on the 1000 acre plateau up the Matiri Valley. The geology of this area is truly special. Such beautiful cliffs surround this plateau, the sort that you look at go I don't want to fall off that. The snow conditions across the plateau were fairly soft. One of those occasions that you really had some snow shoes with you! Would recommend heading up heading up here winter or summer and have some time up your sleeve. There are two huts up on the plateau which are Poor Pete's and Larakins Huts.
 The next trip was a true weekend warrior trip, A day in and a day out. It was up to Flannigan’s hut in the Baton valley. What a pleasure to see a pair of whio (blue duck) on the way up. Such a stunning valley to visit with many river crossings. Quite amazing to think that Bill Flannigan used to walk up this gorge at night just with a candle to visit his hut and check on the sheep. Great snow up here as well, it was easily down to a couple hundred metres below the hut. 

My last trip this winter was up to Lake Sylvester in the back of the Cob valley. Such an easy trip from the car park through to Lake Sylvester Hut. Just a couple of hours of strolling. Such an awesome trip for families to do as it doesn’t take that long to get in there. Did a beautiful day trip up behind the hut through Lake Sylvester, Iron Lake and onto the main ridge. Such a beautiful place that needs some serious time spent exploring around.
Well that is enough of back country live happening. The next adventure could be a run through the Wangapeka. Walk on. Gilby

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How do you save Hut?

Recently Back Country Live was up in the 1000 acre plateau in the Kahurangi National Park. While up there I came across this cute hut called Poor Petes Hut as I found out it is secluded to be removed. This has frustrated me as it seems that DOC is prepared to pump money into our Great Walks which many of us avoid because of overcrowding. Have attached a letter that I wrote to the editor of FMC. Next thing is to get in touch with local tramping clubs. Walk on Gilby

letter to FMC editor
Dear Editor
How does one go about saving a hut?
Just last weekend I decided to do a winter trip up onto the 1000 acre plateau in the Matiri Valley. Now I would recommend a trip up here winter or summer as the scenery is absolutely spectacular. A beautiful plateau surrounded by great mountains and cliffs. As you get up onto the plateau you are greeted by a cute little hut could Poor Pete’s hut. Now Poor Pete’s is run down and in need of some T.L.C. As I sit down for lunch and good read of the log book I find it is scheduled to be removed. What a shame as it obviously has a long history and probably has Historical value as well. It gets me thinking of how much money D.O.C are prepared to throw at our huts in our National parks eg The third Angelus Hut in as many years which in my opinion didn’t need replacing. Poor Pete’s is placed between Lake Matiri and Larrikins Hut. Reading on in the hut book I noticed that lot’s of party’s were pleased to see Poor Pete’s to take a break or stay the night after spending time on being lashed by weather on the Plateau. Others commentated they wouldn’t make the climb up if Poor Pete’s wasn’t there. What a shame to see it removed when it seems to be doing a great job up on the plateau Well you have it how do we Save Poor Pete’s Hut

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Mighty Tararua's.....The spiritual home

Well this is my home mountain range. From the early cub tramps through to the many tramps at school, the tararuas got a hammering. It was always good tramping with Mum for the first 6 Years before I went boarding school. We had some fun and went to some very cool places. Mum was looking after Scott, Derek and I as we had lots of adventures. It was at boarding school that my tramping really developed where I met Simon Gorman who took me under his wing. He is a mentor and a great friend. By the time I was 16 I was doing trips in the Tararua's by myself.
One thing you can guarantee about the tararua's is you are bound to get some crap weather at some stage but a fine day makes all those crappy days worth it. Have completed several trips up there in the last few years and always ask mum how they are looking when I phone. B.C.L wil get back up there soon. Walk on. Gilby

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How back Country Live was Born.......

B.C.L came about from one video that I made on a peak called Chrome in the Richmond Ranges. It was on this trip that I decided to bag all the huts and peaks over 1500m in the range before the end of my contract Outward Bound contract(roughly a year). I was half way there already but it was still big ask to complete in a year. The more I got into bagging huts and peaks that sort of became irrelevant because I was using it more as excuse to get into the back country and live the dream. This just gave me a vechile to go exploring places in the richmonds. Another thing that fuelled this goal was having this range right on the doorstep, but always travelling long distances to have adventures. Rock on Gilby

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This is where It all started......

This is taken from my Mum's Tramp diary. Basically I had been on one tramp and then begged my mum to take me tramping. Thanks Mum for taking that gamble of going into the hills. It has led to passion for outdoor adventure.

24th and 25th January 1988
24th January
Having done quite a few day trips with cubs and scouts Chris and I decided it was time to take the big plunge and do an overnight tramp. A big decision but it was great fun even if the B.N.Z. guys didn't think so.

We left Holdsworth in sweltering heat, it was extremely hot, especially the big hill beyond Donnelly Flat. But after that it was good as was mainly under the trees and in the river. The track was reasonably easy to follow. Just after the last river crossing we got a bit bamboozled, but found the hut easily. The tramp took four hours and there was no one there when we arrived, but soon after seven guys from the B.N.Z. computer centre arrived. Fortunately some of them had tents so we didn't have a sardine squash in the hut and the weather was good for sleeping under canvas. We had thick comfortable mattresses to sleep on. Chris and I slept on the bottom bunk. I hardly slept a wink all night.

We learnt plenty on this tramp - Chris's boots were far too big. Must buy a cooker as it is hard cooking over the open fire place.

25th January
We left the hut at 9.00 a.m, before the other guys. They caught us up - easily. They passed us when we were swimming in the river just before Donnelly Flat. We were out and home by 2.30 p.m. A great experience. No photographs as I forgot the camera. I was pretty tired and sore after this tramp.