Sunday, October 31, 2004

James on Clay's Leap

I took this sequence of James yesterday at Turoa skiing Clay's Leap. More sequences to come soon!
James on Clay's Leap (1.5MB)

Good spring days in the snow

My plans changed quickly on Friday evening and before I knew it I was in Ohakune.

Saturday was cloudy, but good riding. Clarke's Mistake was definitely the run of the day!

Sunday morning was beautiful. It started icy, but quickly softened and by the afternoon was a fantastic day to be down there. There were so many cliffs to jump off:

What a weekend at Turoa... Saturday, Sunday

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Ready set snowboard!

Ahhhh... Friday. In need of a coffee. Did necessary things last night, nothing exciting... Laundry, grocery shopping, etc.

Talked to Lori on the phone for a while. I miss that girl.

Sucks that the lunar eclipse didn't happen in this part of the world. Oh well, it was cloudy last night anyway so we couldn't have seen it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Gonna miss the noodles

Ok, so last night we had a big work party. We hit up a place called Styx down near Te Awamutu. It was a fun time. The food was really good. They gave away 4 vacations to employees, alas I didn't get one.

I just ate some lunch at one of the noodle bars in Hamilton. When I leave this place I will really miss them. It ahs become one of my favorite meals.

I am looking forward to this weekend. Gonna hit the slopes and do some good spring snowboarding in the park... Whee.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Rest is key after a long walk

So yesterday I just went home from work and chilled out. Watched some TV, read some of my new book, Snow Blind and then went to bed early. My knee is really buggered from walking so far, but it feels much better today.

There was a pretty awesome sunset last night at my house. I went out in the backyard and took some pics of our yard in the sunset... there was a rainbow too:

Monday, October 25, 2004

Mt Manuoha and Lake Waikareiti track in Te Urewera

On Friday I took off from work a bit early and went out to Rotorua. I stayed the night at Marty's. He has a nice flat and some chillin flatmates.

About 5:30am I hopped up and headed out to Te Urewera. It is a 3 hour drive to Waikaremoana from Roto-vegas on a dirt road so I got there around 8:30. I had to wait around to be picked up by my transport. He was supposed to be there at 9 to take me to the Mt. Manuoha track, but was running late and didn't come until 10. Finally I started the track at about 10:30.

It was a steep climb through dense bush for about an hour. After that I was on a ridge that steadily climbed for about another 4 hours. I passed a group along the way. The track was meant to take about 6 hours to get to the Manuoha hut near the Mt. Manuoha summit, but I was there at 3pm after only 4.5 hours. The track was easy to follow most of the way, but at one section I thought it went out onto a big land slip, but really it turned and went back into the bush. I ended up finding the track again and things were sweet... Here is a picture of the dense, mossy forest I had to deal with:

That night it started raining. I was in the 6 person hut with 5 other guys and we had the fire going, so it was nice and warm. We cooked up our dinners and then went to bed.

We all got up about 6am and made some breakfast and coffee. I had a long walk ahead of me. The signpost said 8 hours, but I knew that most of it was downhill. I was at 1392m (the highest point in Te Urewera National Park) and I was heading to Lake Waikareiti that was at 896m. It was raining and very windy. The other guys were only heading to the silted lake near Kaipo Lagoon which was 6 hours. I set off at 8am. It was cold on top of that ridge. It was somewhat under the canopy, but the wind was coming through steadily. I didn't stop for a break until 11am. It was too cold to stop. I was bundled up in rain gear and just kept eating GORP from my pockets as I moved along. I had read that this part of the track was for experienced trampers only, but I didn't realize that it wasn't a track at all. This was only a marked route with markers on the trees, but no trail. It was difficult to follow. I was wading through knee to waist high ferns the whole way.

Eventually I reached Lake Waikareiti. It was 1pm and I had done though 8 hour trek in only 5 hours. I was exhausted and my right knee was really starting to hurt.

The lake was really beautiful. Because of the high winds the clouds were really cruising. Rain was coming on and off. I dried out and hung out with the people there. There were two familes and two other couples. Some of them had rowed across the lake and had some row boats there. One of the fathers asked me if I wanted to go with him and his son out for a look at a lake on one of the islands within the lake. I went. It was pretty weird to step onto an island, walk up some steps and see another lake...

They caught several fish that day as well. Some brown trout and some rainbow trout. We cooked those up for dinner and I got to eat quite a bit. Excellent fish!

That night we all sat around and talked. They were a really fun group of people. The sunset had a little bit of color in it...

In the morning the two families left early. I left about 45 minutes later. It was a pretty easy walk out and I had some excellent views at one of the bays:

By the time I had finished the walk and got in my car to leave it was 1pm. I had about a 5 hour drive back to Hamilton. It was a gorgeous drive for the first 2 hours on that dirt road along Lake Waikaremoana:

I stopped in Rotorua and had dinner with Marty. That was pretty much the conclusion of my Labour Weekend to Te Urewera...

First Day
Second Day

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Ready to hike

So... the last day of work before a 3 day weekend. Should be great tramping weather this weekend so I am looking forward to it. Last night Si and I climbed at the gym for a while then hit up the Chinese takeaways.

I went to Pak N Save and got groceries for tramping. I am ready to hit the road after work. I am gonna head out to Rotorua tonight and stay at Marty's house, then get up early in the morning to go off to Te Urewera.

Time to go make some coffee...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It's been a long long time

Well, Tuesday night I went over to Sarah's and talked to Simon about doing some tramping this weekend. He can't so I guess I am just gonna go alone. Nobody else wants to go either.

Last night I went out to Raglan for the sunset. I love it out there. I took some pictures... here is one of my favorites:

I have been getting people telling me they are using my photos as their desktop background. Let me know if you want to and I will send you a much higher quality image.

So, this weekend I am gonna go out and do the Manuoha-Waikarieti track near Lake Waikaremoana. It is a three day track. I haven't been on a long tramp since May, so I am really looking forward to it. The weather is gonna be really good this weekend and I will miss some snowboarding, but it will be worth it.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

More than 6 months

Current music: Massive Attack - Rising Son

So, I have been in NZ now for 6 months and 4 days. Crazy huh? I am still loving it here, but I am looking forward to going back to the States to see people. I realize that is still a ways away though.

Headed up to Wairere Falls (largest on the North Island) on Saturday. Walked to the top of them. Really cool looking out over the falls at the Waikato. Here is a picture... there are more at

At night I helped Simeon shoot some of his video with Larry and Kenny.

Sunday morning I got up and had to do something. Couldn't go snowboarding because the rain had destroyed much of the park at pipe at the mountain. They are rebuilding it, so hopefully later this week or next week. I decided to go out and do Mt. Pureora again. I still hadn't been up there in clear weather. It is an amazing view... Taupo, Ruapehu, the Waikato...

Finished the filming os Simeon's video late last night. Here is a shot in mod-production:

Friday, October 15, 2004

Yo. Yo.

Last night was sweet! Jeremy and Brooke had their parents over for dinner and I guess they were expecting me to stay, but since they never told me that I went and got fish and chips and went round to Sarah's. Bit of a party there for Richard's birthday... pictures will be coming soon.

After that we all went out to town for a while. Monika was visiting from Wellington and that was cool. I went with her and Kenny to play pool at Spirit'd until about 2am.

Now I am just hanging out waiting to get the oil changed in my car, then I am going off to Wairere Falls for the afternoon. Si and I were meant to go tramping at Te Aroha, but he was too slack.

Time for a coffee, then off to the falls.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I am too slack sometimes

Current music: Mogwai - My Father, My King

Well, Simon and I went rock climbing last night. I did another new wall I had never done before. Pretty sweet.

Hopefully this damn weather clears so I can get some days on the snow. Been windy and cloudy lately. If not, Simon and I are gonna go hiking, so that is cool.

Hmmm... still gotta get some pictures of my new flat online. Maybe I will get that done this weekend.

Back to writing documentation and sticking it in the company wiki...

PS - I am starting to love wikis.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Damn... need to snowboard

Current music: Jurassic 5 - What's Golden

Haven't been riding in a few weeks now and I am jonesin'.

Eh... slacked last night and just read my book and watched My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance. Working today. Whoa... so exciting. My burps taste like the Thai I had for lunch.

Monday, October 11, 2004

So many birthdays

I had my car checked out yesterday. Looks like the muffler is cracked and I need to get another one. No big deal though. It is in the shop now and I will go out there to pick it up this afternoon...

Sarah's birthday was yesterday. We took her out for dinner to Kobe, a Japanese place in Hamilton East. It was surprisingly excellent and very cheap. I am going to have to visit that place again! Had a great time there. Here is a shot of Sarah and her son Jack blowing out the candles:

Sunday, October 10, 2004

I love my new house

Current music: The Promise Ring - Stop Playing Guitar

Well, the weekend is over. My muffler is messed up. I need to call and get an appointment for that to be fixed. The US dollar is at a new low since I have been here. I guess I should keep sending my NZ money over there... I am pretty low on cash at the moment because I keep sending all my money over there. I get another paycheck this week. I think I will send that as well and just be poor for another two weeks...

The birthday party was pretty fun. A lot of people showed up that Sarah is friends with from PolyTech. I just hung out with the normal crew. Didn't feel much like mingling.

Sunday I didn't accomplish much. Just hung out around the new pad. Ate fruit off the trees. Read a book in the sun. Next weekend will be different. Gotta get down to the mountain. Hmmm... it is getting down to not much time before the long weekend. I think I will just head out east and do a big 3 day hike in Te Urewera. I was contemplating going over to Australia, but I don't think I will go. Tracy, my sister's friend) is over there in Surfer's Paradise and it would be cool to visit her, but I have been slack on buying plane tickets.

Friday, October 08, 2004

All moved

Last night I went out with a bunch of guys from work to Iguana for dinner then to Metropolis for coffee. It was a really good time. After that I went home and packed up some of my stuff.

This morning I hopped up at 8am and shoved everything into my car. Moved all my stuff to our new house and helped Jeremy and Brooke move their stuff too. Now I am ready for bed, but there is the birthday party tonight...

Yesterday we had a business update meeting. Looks like we are starting some new groups of the company. One in the US and one in the EU. I may go work for the US one when my work visa here expires... Hmmm... need to make up my mind. I still plan to go to Asia first though.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Wiki work

Last night was pretty cool. Simon and I went rock climbing. We are getting a lot better and having a lot of fun with it. Hit up the Asian supermarket after and got a few things then got Chinese takeaways for dinner. When we got back to Sarah's place, they were all eating Chinese from the same place. Hung out there for a while then cruised home.

When I got home nobody was there. That was pretty nice. I could just relax by myself. I read for a while then went to bed.

This morning there was no milk at work for my cereal. That was pretty annoying. Now I want to make some coffee, but there is no milk for that either. Maybe I will just go make an Americano.

I think our CFO is coming down from Auckland today so I am going to have a chat with her about my employment in the future and my current plans because of my visa and stuff like that...

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Once again, at work, but ready to leave

Current music: Ben Folds Five - Jackson Cannery

Last night I just chilled out and read my book. Well, Aimee's book that I am borrowing: Live Bait by P.J. Tracy. Good so far. I am flying through it. Oh, of course I watched some Bro Town last night too. Great show.

So... I am heading to Southeast Asia for a few months after I leave NZ. I want people to go with me. It would be fun to have a travel companion. I talked to Meghan about it a while ago, but I have my doubts about her actually coming. I should write her an email to see if she is still serious or what. Even if she does come she wouldn't be there until June and I plan to get there in early May. I have been talking to Lori about it heaps. I think she might be serious about going. Could be really awesome to travel with her. However, I am unclear if she really means that she is going to go or not. I wish people would just commit to something and do it instead of saying they will just because it sounds like a good idea, but not ever really committing to it mentally or financially. I realize I will probably end up going alone and that will rock too. It sucks getting your hopes up about people coming to visit and stuff, just for them to tell you they aren't gonna make it.

I talked to my tax guy today. He is going to start looking into NZ tax laws and agreements with the US. I need to talk to our company lawyer about how we are connected to our US sister company. I might get some significant tax breaks because of that... Hmmm... I also talked with him about my retirement accounts. It looks like I am not going to be able to put money into a Traditional IRA this year because it would just make things a bit crazy with my taxes. I have quite a bit ready to put into an account and I want to do it before the end of the tax year, so I think I will open a Roth IRA and put it there. Won't get tax breaks with the Roth, but it will be nice in the future... Now I just have to get in touch with my brokerage about that. Ugh. I hate having to do stuff like this from overseas. Just complicates everything.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Working the week away

Pretty much did nothing last night. I can't stand hanging out at my flat anymore. I have been leaving every night and hanging out somewhere else. I went to Sarah's again last night and hung out with Simon, Sarah, and Gaz. Gaz made nachos and had some left over... dinner! Oh yeah, and I did some grocery shopping. I can't wait to move into the new flat this weekend.

Until then maybe I will spend every night at Raglan:

Monday, October 04, 2004

I got numbers

Had lunch with Sarah yesterday at the sushi place on Casabella Lane. Good sushi. We had a good chat. I needed to get her advice because I have a thing for my friend's ex and I wanted to make sure that they were over and done with. There is a bit of a weird relationship there and I didn't want to step on his toes... So I checked with Sarah because she knows more of the story than me.

Last night was nothing special really... Just went over to Sarah and Aimee's house and hung out with them, Gareth, and Simon. Watched Moulin Rouge. Good movie. Weird, but fun...

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Yesterday was good too... good weekend as usual.

Back at work today, but only after a rockin' weekend. Here are some pictures from Saturday:

On my way up to Crater Lake with Ben. Heading up the Whakapapa Glacier:

Leaving the top and starting down towards Knoll Ridge. Crazy ice:

Ben is ripping in down towards the Valley and the Knoll Ridge. The Whakapapa Pinnacles and Nguarahoe in the distance. I think this is my favorite shot of the day:

Yesterday I hung out around home all day in the sunshine then went out to Raglan to chill with Tiger. Ate some fish and chips and watched the sunset over Raglan:

After the sunset I went back to chill with Kenny at Kakanui. Beautiful Mel came by and got all the boys rounded up to go to Metropolis for Simon's birthday. We went down and had some hot chocolate there. Great night.

Today I am meeting up with Sarah for sushi at Casabella Lane. I haven't met up with her for lunch in ages.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Killer day at Whakapapa and the Crater Lake yesterday

On Friday night I just chilled around. Went over to Sarah's for a little while and watched a movie with Simon, Sarah, and Gaz. Then Ben, Mel, and I decided not to go to the mountain on Saturday because it was going to be too cold and therefore icy...

In the morning I got a text from Ben. Luckily I woke up when I heard it and I headed off to meet them in Cambridge. We were going to the mountain in hopes of a good day. Well, we got a good day. It was really warm and sunny up there. Ben and I took a run with Mel, then took the National out. We went straight to the top of the Far West T-bar and started hiking. Before long it started getting REALLY icy and we were struggling to make any forward progress.

About 2 hours later we completed the tramp up to the crater which should have only been about an hour. We hung out at the crater for a little while and took some pictures (will be posted tomorrow). On the way up there was a guy who told us the next valley to the north of the one we were on would have better snow. We walked around one of the peaks and then we were screwed. It was all ice and steep. I slipped twice and almost ended up sliding down to Tukino on the other side of the mountain. My knees were sore from slipping and falling on the ice. It was miserable. I felt like crying.

Eventually we made it up and we had to cross a massive ice field. We went across that and came across some other guys we had seen earlier. We had to go down a huge ice cliff. Ben and I were both crapping our pants about this point. It turned out that the cliff wasn't bad at all, but it looked scary from the top. Once we got down from there we learned that one of the guys there had dropped his board and he was on foot. He was in pretty great danger. It was icy and getting late in the day. We said we would go down and send help up for them.

The run down was incredible. About 4-6 inches of loose smooth slush. It was almost powder-like. We cruised that hard. At the top of the Valley T-bar we found the guy's board. We took it down to ski patrol and they sent a few guys up on snowmobiles to find the guys. In the bus on the way from the Whakapapa Village to the carpark we heard on the radio that the guys had been found and were being brought down.

All in all it was amazing. We had awesome views from the top and in the crater. Had an excellent run down. My knees hurt today, but I'll live.

Daylight savings time started today. Wheee... light later at night.