Patricks New Zealand Weblog

Hodge Podge of a Post

We had, apparently, as a planet, the hottest June on record. This is most of the reason why you’ve not seen any posts about skiing.. the ski fields, at least the ones around ChCh simply haven’t opened.

Intead, there have been a few walks, the CUTC sale (representing Snowpool), the Banff Film Festival (excellent, also representing Snowpool)… there have been a couple of walks..

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Some games

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^ that is excellent, the stones are magnets and you place them on this super smooth surface. Object is to place them down without any being forced to connect. Kinda like reverse Jenga.

I also went along to a basic electronics meetup.. made this awesome thing:

No skills required, just connecting dots, but lots of fun. I’m planning on getting into using my Raspberry Pi a little later on in the year.. just some small projects (timelapse photography etc.) .. but quite looking forward to it.

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A quick trip South

Well, have I ever been slack writing up the blog.. it’s almost the end of July and zero posts (hurrah for backdating)

This was a lovely weekend; went South to Dunedin with Steve & Michelle and Maaike for the long weekend to visit my former flatmate, the excellent Mark Tynan. I didn’t take enough pictures unfortunately, especially not of Mark and Stephanies lifestyle block. They’ve bought quite a chunk of land about 20 mins from Dunedin. It’s …. rustic… but lovely… It is certainly a massive amount of work to take on their challenge. There isn’t a house (though they have a 1 room well insulated cabin with a ridiculous view), plumbed toilet (almost though), shower etc. It’s all coming along though, and I suspect by the next time we’re down it’ll be a lot further along. I admit I am not as attracted to the lifestyle as Maaike is.. she loves the idea…. I prefer a bit more creature comforts. Also.. it’s a huge amount of time in upkeep (like constant)… The flip side of course is that you have plenty of space, land which is yours to look after, sheep, chickens, trees… and birdsong to die for. Great to visit ;)

We did get a walk out to Sandfly Bay I think it was: quite a few surfers & seals out.

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michelle and maaikebeachbattle of wills (or seals)

So yes, a good trip down South… I’m definitely looking forward to the next time. It’s a shame that Mark and Stephanie have left ChCh as it was nice seeing more of them than we will now. On the positive side, good excuse for road trips :)

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Tranz Alpine Express.

For Christmas, Maaike and I gave my Aunt Mary a present of tickets on the TransAlpine Express which is the train going from Christchurch (East Coast) to Greymouth (West Coast).

Maaike and Mary, and the ticket.

It was a leisurely and quite scenic way to cross the alps. I certainly think that the most scenic part is from Christchurch to Arthurs Pass as it takes you up the Waimakariri river system etc.

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We went over to Greymouth and then took the train back the same day – but just as far as Arthurs Pass. There we stayed the night in my friend Nicks Bach (holiday home) – such a very lovely place to stay. Mary took us out for a delicious dinner at the Wobbly Kea.

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Then the following day we went for a little walk up to the waterfall.. it’s such a rewarding site for the short walk it takes to get there…

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It wasn’t in flood like it was the last time we were up in Arthurs..

Well, all in all a lovely weekend had. I wonder where the next adventure will take us? :)

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Travers – Sabine – Blue Lake – And Some Exciting News

I had been wanting to do this tramp for quite a while, for slightly underhand reasons as will become aparent. Blue lake, nestled here in Nelson Lakes national park is the clearest freshwater in the whole world (as measured by the hopefully impartial National Institute for Water and Atmospheric research). So, a destination worth getting to.

blue lake map

It’s pretty much a two day tramp to get there… so you need a long weekend (or a nice break over Easter). We elected to take the water taxi up Lake Rotoiti cutting a nice 7km or so off the tramp. From there we hiked in one day up to the Upper Travers hut. We were carrying quite a lot of food and I admit that I was totally and completely exhausted by the time we got there. Maaike was fine, totally unfair ;)

boat in crazy ladydry feet

There were quite a few small river crossings – Maaike somehow (well, quite carefully) managed to keep dry feet almost all of the way. I was lazy and just went straight through.

waterfallstill dry feetupper travers hut

The hut was surprisingly full. Well, surprisingly to me. The reason it was so full was that we’ve had some pretty big storms lately and most of the other national parks in the upper South Island (Heaphy, Kaharangi) were closed. So all of those trampers came to Nelson lakes area as it was really the only place left open. Anyway, met a really really nice crowd of older trampers there, one of whom was an Icelander (so quizzed him on things to do there when we visit later on this year).

Anyway, slept pretty well, and the next day was another long one through to Blue Lake. You have to go up over the Travers saddle. It’s steepish, but not too bad.

heading up to the saddletop of the passbit chillydescent into the sabine

Then a descent into the Sabine. We dumped a lot of food at the West Sabine hut before walking up the final few hours to Blue Lake.

It’s a stunning spot. Here is a photo I knicked from the NIWA Website. The only photo credit is to DOC – so … reproduced here without their permission.. I’ll take it down if they contact me ;)

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We didn’t have quite the same conditions on the day. Still, it was made a _little_ more special by Maaike agreeing to marry me ;) Woohoo!. Some more pictures.

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The reason the lake is so clear is that the water is filtered from Lake Constance above, through a landslide. The water which ends up in blue lake is pretty much distilled water. We walked up to Lake Constance the following morning, but it was quite misty. Here’s a picture of some mist :)

towards lake constance

Then all to soon it was time to head back to the next hut. Back through all the avalanche zones (of which there are many). You can guess where these rather large un-licheny rocks came from.. It’s definitely not a place to linger in winter.

heed ye the warnings of oldeI wonder where these came from?

We did have a few sections of bush bashing where the trees had come down, but really quite short sections of a a few hundred meters at a time. We did take the water taxi back rather than (as was the plan) walk around the speargrass route, as a chunk of that track had been flattened, and we just didn’t fancy hours and hours of bush bashing.

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Anyway, a lovely tramp all up, and I’m very excited & proud that Maaike has decided that I’m worth spending the rest of her life with. I’m quite looking forward to it ;)

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Snowpool iOS App

I am very lucky to have had many wonderful people help me over the years with Snowpool. From Euan and Darren giving initial encouragement, to Simone with the new design and Becks with her marketing & further design work, and to Paddy for just general encouragement and helping out at the CSA Sale (and Maaike too last and this year!). Also to Malc who taught me Ruby on Rails and gave 6? evenings of his time to creating the genesis of the new site, and to Mike for making some awesome giveaway magents – and now to Tim from work who was extremely kind and who gave most of the last Ruby camp over to helping to build a native iOS app for Snowpool.  I did some of the programming for it too, but there’s no way it’d be as polished (or complete) as it is now without his help and encouragement.

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Tim is an exceptionally talented developer (there are a few at Resolve!) and I’m just very grateful for his time and expertise. The app is open sourced on github, and will hopefully be available in the App Store in a week or so (hopefully without bugs ;)

So, many thanks to one and all who have helped and apologies to any I have missed. Also of course, thanks to Kingswood Skis for supporting, and Bivouac for advertising!

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Lake Man Biv

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This weekend it was off up to Lewis Pass and off to Lake Man.

meInside Lake Man Biv

It’s a pretty cruisy walk up the valley and to the hut (well, small biv). We brought the tent and decided to camp up on top – quite a nice evening, and the blue cheese and crackers was most deserved. Also shown here is the damage that the (damn) Kea did a couple of weekends ago.. very annoying. Though, according to Twin Needles (where the tent is currently being repaired), they’re most fond of Orange / Yellow tents, and often the rip up the whole seam. Annoying.

skycamp spotnyomsmall depression - tarn - call it what you willbleedin' kea

Then the next day it was out along the tops – which was a great little walk. The bush bash down was… slow work. Very slow work. I don’t think we quite took the optimum, or even a decent route down. Still, we did get down, as evidenced by this blog post.

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Wellington for the weekend (and floods)

Glynn and I Well, it was off to Wellington for the weekend. Maaike had been sent by CPIT to a committee which was sorting out education for the whole of New Zealand or something ;) … So, we split the flights up and had a lovely weekend catching up with Glynn & Jayne & Isla & Emerson. I didn’t take enough pictures (as per normal).. but … some cycling was done, ice cream eating, managed to get a few games of pool in with Glynn.. Settlers of Catan.. good times. Oh, and cronuts – the delicious looking thing on the right – a cross between a croissant and a doughnut.


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It was also Saint Patrick’s Day while we were up there. Maaike (with some help from little Isla) made a lemon cake, which was delicious. I also got to hang out for the day in New Zealand’s hottest tech startup Xero where my friend Ronan whom I went to primary school with works. I worked remotely for the day, but we did have time for a quick pint after work.

Me and RonanMaaike and Isla's Cake

Oh, and finally, we had a 100 year flood (second in 30 years) in Christchurch. It was really, really wet! It’s the same bridge in the photo, before and (slightly) after. You really feel for the people who have been damaged by earthquakes and now flooded (especially as the water table as altered in some places so now some places which weren’t so flood prone now are..)

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RailsCamp NZ 2014

Well, I had a great time at RailsCamp this year. RailsCamp is an unconference where a whole bunch of Ruby / Rails devs get together and give talks, hack on things, play games, drink beer and generally have a great time.

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I have wrote up a fuller account over on the Resolve Digital Blog and some of this will be a duplication.

I had a great time hanging out with Tim from work. Tim is our latest recruit and an awesome dude as well as a great coder. He very kindly offered to help me get started building a native iPhone app for snowpool.. It’s not finished yet, but it’s getting there (all open sourced on GitHub).

The Kea were quite interested in my tent, very annoying as they came around at 6am pretty much and woke me up. This picture (of the tent) was taken by Kale Worsley, a former colleague and all round genius from Egressive days.

kea at my tent

But anyway, it was a great conference. I’ll leave you with a couple more of Malcolm Locke’s excellent pictures and a final video of Tim playing his AirPipes app (which you can buy on the app store..)

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Also, please note, all of these pictures are Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic, and were taken by Malcolm Locke and Kale Worsley.

Finally Finally, I must say, one of my favourite things about being in the Ruby Community is that it’s just _such_ a nice bunch of people. Really really good times. I mean just look at that group shot, pretty much everyone smiling broadly. Wonderful. More pictures (and some awesome astrophotography) on Malc’s Flickr Stream.

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A Saturday Stroll

me + gpsUp to Arthurs Pass for a quick getaway this weekend. Initially we had thought of going to Lake Mavis, but, as there were already 16 people going there (a massive crowd in NZ terms) Maaike decided that she wasn’t happy with tramping with too many other people (her words not mine! ;) we decided instead to go for a shortish walk up Avalanche Peak and down Scotts track.



rollestonscotts track

We stayed in Arthurs Pass for the weekend, just camping in the van.. lovely to get away (I also achieved a new high score on Flappy Wings, which was a huge triumph).

grass 'n light 'n stuff

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Outwits, Clouds, Lorde what a title.

Not too much to report, headed to see the outwits (local comedy / performance artists) in the park. This year they were doing a short history of rock ‘n roll. It was good, but, I have to be honest here, a lot of it was lost on me.

They did take the time to celebrate (and obviously slag off a little bit – but definitely in a celebratory manner) Lorde (a New Zealand artist who has won a huge amount of awards recently… video here has 205 million views…)

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As you can see… they look almost identical!

Well done Lorde!

yet another stunning sky

And slightly crazy weather, super hot one day, hailing the next…. harrumph.

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