Monday, November 11, 2013

Try this one - it's delicious!

One positive aspect of having some time out for work has been the opportunity to try out a few new recipes. It seems a little odd to me to use a recipe to make salad but I came across this one recently, made it, ate it and decided I should share it.

It looks great and tastes even better! The quantity of ingredients isn't critical, of course.


1/4 red cabbage
2 grated carrots
1 large or 2 medium grated beetroots
1/2 cup sprouts - I used a mix of different bean and pea sprouts then also threw in mung beans because they needed to be used up
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup chopped raw almonds

The method is easy - put all ingredients into a bowl and mix.

The recipe had the following dressing :
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp manuka honey

Personally I found this dressing to be too oily so when I made the salad for the second time I reduced the oil to 1 tablespoon, added some lemon juice and swapped the honey for maple syrup. I think you should just use whatever your dressing of choice is.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ernest Shackleton helped me change my attitude

I've struggled a bit with my attitude recently - that's been an outcome of being at home for six weeks and not being able to be physically active - no cycling, no walking up or down hills, no tramping - pretty much no anything. This has been a struggle for me and consequently I've been pretty grumpy. Quite sick of being told to rest up, enjoy my time off work, don't do too much, etc etc as well as being asked "How are you?" - I've found it almost impossible to answer that question with anything positive.

While a few have pointed out things could be worse, my brain wouldn't accept that comment as being helpful. That was until I was given a specific example of what could be worse. Imagine this : being in an open boat in the rough seas of the south Atlantic Ocean, the only food available is dog food, the temperature is freezing and you have a bout of diarrhea. In addition, after each bout of diarrhea, you get to wipe your bum with a piece of ice. That's what faced the men travelling with Ernest Shackleton. In a nutshell the story goes like this : Shackleton and his men on the ship Endurance were trapped in pack ice on 14 February 1915. Their ship was then crushed by the ice and sank on 21 November 1915. They camped out on the ice until 8 April 1916 when they took to their three lifeboats which they rowed to Elephant Island arriving there on 15 April 1916. It was during this time rowing to Elephant Island when the above scenario happened. The journey didn't end there. If you're interested, the book, Shackleton, by Roland Huntford is a great read about Shackleton's polar expeditions.

The whole experience they went through sounds dreadful but that one description about the diarrhea sunk into my grumpy brain and made me think that my situation is certainly not so bad. So I am on the up mentally but, please, resist the urge to ask how I am or tell me that the time will pass quickly - words like those could see me sink back into my grumpy quagmire.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

News flash - I won a scholarship

My big news is that I have been successful in attaining a part scholarship to attend a High Alpine Skills Course in the Mt Cook area in January. The scholarship was offered by the NZ Alpine Club and sponsored by the Wellington and Auckland Women Climbing groups. The course is a fantastic opportunity to learn some new skills (of specific interest to me, they cover off glacier travel and crevasse rescue as part of the course) that will be of tremendous benefit to my own personal climbing as well as adding to my skillset for teaching other people. I'm particularly interested in encouraging other women to either take up climbing or take the next step in their climbing. With my memberships to Mountain Safety Council and the Wellington section of the NZ Alpine Club I'm in a great position to enable this.

I've been catching up on some reading recently (prior to knowing about the scholarship) and have just finished reading a book about Bill Denz and also one written by Karen Gazley - both climbers. Both books were a great read. I found both books, to some extent, inspiring but not to the point where I would want to emulate Bill Denz. I think my personal approach to risk is somewhat different to what Bill's was.

With the course lined up for mid-January, my summer is shaping up to be a great one. Hopefully I'll get some climbing in before the course at the Alpine Club annual climbing camp which is taking place in the Hopkins Valley. Prior to Christmas some forays up into the hills for some tramping will be the plan - time to get lean and mean, ready for climbing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Four in a row - tramping fun!

Recently I learned I would be physically out of action for a period of time - this was a blow as I had plans to be climbing Mt Aspiring in November and this plan would now need to be shelved. As might be expected of me, my reaction to an enforced period of inactivity was to ramp up my weekends for the remaining period with some tramping trips.

As with all our trips we had several backup plans in place in case the weather didn't play ball. Plan A for the first trip was to head up to Mitre Peak in the Tararua range for a spot of snowshoeing to take advantage of a recent southerly blast. This would have been a strenuous but fun trip. Sadly the weather gods threw a curve ball with rain and gales on the tops so the trip ended up being an easy wander in to Mitre Flats hut for the night and back out the next day. The positive for the trip was having the hut to ourselves - the previous two occasions I've been in that hut have seen an overflow situation with people sleeping on the deck and camping outside.

Waitewaewae slip
Trip 2 went according to plan with a pretty average weather forecast being wrong and being delivered two lovely sunny days. The plan was a walk in from Otaki Forks to Waitewaewae Hut (also known as YTYY or Y2YY) on the banks of the Otaki River. There had been recent activity on the long standing slip which made for an interesting few moments of near-terror as we scrambled across that. The decision was made towards the end of the tramp in to take the dry weather (wet feet) track to the hut. With scant information we headed off for that and took a bit of time to figure out that meant a walk across then up then across the river. The final river crossing was chest height in frigid water - luckily the hut is right by the bank of the river so dry clothes were soon available and the fire was kicked into action to warm us up. Again we had the hut to ourselves for the night. The walk out the next day was uneventful although the decision was made to take the wet weather (dry feet) track back out to avoid a morning dip.
Otaki River - looking benign.... and cold

Trip 3 was a less than perfect weekend with low cloud and rain. Nevertheless we headed off for a short walk up to Kapakapanui Hut at the back of the Reikorangi Valley behind Waikanae. For the third week in a row we had a hut to ourselves so settled in for a quiet afternoon of reading before dinner and bed. Listening to the rain through the night we wondered how the river crossings would be on our way back out to the cat the next morning. After breakfast and packing up we headed off to walk up over the summit before dropping steeply down to the carpark. The river was a little higher than the day before but still crossable. Lucky. Would have meant a long walk otherwise.
Kapakapanui Hut

Wangapeka slip

Finally we were down to my last weekend and we were lucky enough to be in the South Island. Yet another soggy forecast meant a change of plans and then a road closed due to a slip caused another change of plans. Off we headed, on the Wangapeka Track to Kings Creek Hut for a couple of nights. As with the Waitewaewae track, there was an active slip on this track. And, wow, what a slip!

There are warning signs at the beginning of the track and on both sides of the slip advising that the slip should be crossed quickly, that spotters should be used for falling rocks etc. The slip happened in October 2012 and has partially blocked the river resulting in quite a lake behind it complete with trees that are dying (slowly drowning I guess).

We got through to the hut ok and then it started raining and didn't stop. When we first arrived there we had a dip in the river. By the next morning the river was heavily flooded.

Kings Creek Hut
Five minutes further along the track is Cecil King's old hut. Cecil was a miner who spent a lot of time in the area and his old hut has been restored and has 4 bunks available for people to stay there. It's a cool little hut with an open fire and easy access down to the river.

Cecil King Hut
After a couple of nights at Kings Creek hut it was time to head for home. Despite the continual rain the slip was passable. The next hurdle was a ford we'd driven through on our way to the track - it was dry when we'd driven through it on the way in. After all that rain it was flowing pretty high - lucky we had a rental car. The rain had eased off and you could see that the river level had dropped significantly. Lucky - we would have been pretty stuck otherwise. It's one of the few fords I've seen that has a footbridge alongside to allow people to exit (without their vehicle of course) when the river is high.

So, four tramping trips over four weekends. In all cases we had the huts to ourselves and only saw other people on the Waitewaewae trip. Luxury!

Now it's time to rest up and recuperate in time for some summer trips.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Autumn weekend in Wellington

With the forecast looking grim and a birthday to celebrate we had a think about a place to eat out on a miserable Wellington Friday night. After pondering for a while we decided our money would be better spent buying some seafood, grabbing a bottle of wine and heading to the Rimutaka Forest Park to camp for the night. With the wind blowing a gale and showers passing through we cooked our feast of scallops, blue cod, prawns and squid and supped on red wine and a wee whiskey before slipping into our sleeping bags.

The following day we were off to do some tramping and then to camp for a second night. After managing to pack up without getting wet we headed off for a day of tramping. The weather wasn't great - pretty wet but not too cold. The foliage looked much greener with a bit of rain on it.

The following morning dawned calm and sunny - just in time for Mother's Day. No breakfast in bed for me! After packing up our campsite it was a short walk back to the carpark. After a bit of discussion about what I'd like to do for Mother's Day we ended up at Petone Beach with some lovely grilled fish and chips in the sun for lunch. 

A perfect weekend!