Patricks New Zealand Weblog

Lake Man Biv

lake-man-topo

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.

bash bash bash

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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.


2014-03-15 16.21.392014-03-15 16.30.35cronut

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..)

2014-03-05 08.40.002014-03-05 08.40.442014-03-05 18.36.36

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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.

cheesemanme

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..)

13055571855_ee7267ef4a_krailscamp nz group

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…)

outwits

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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Kelly Range

kelly range This weekend it was off up to the Kelly Range (on the far side of Arthurs Pass). It was a good excuse to try out the new GPS ..

It’s a pretty steep climb up, but at least it gets you up on the tops relatively quickly. We did meet a couple of hunters on the way down (one father and his two kids – they’d shot 3 chamois). One of them warned us to ‘use a torch at night.. and wear bright clothing…) which really didn’t fill me with confidence I must say. Hunters are, obviously, supposed to positively identify their targets as being non-human. Still, better safe than dead.

So.. once up on the tops the idea was to cruise around off track and follow the ridge along until we hit the tarns at the end.

 

me, posingseven mile creek to the taipo

We didn’t quite make it as far as we wanted.. and the GPS really came in useful as the terrain was really broken and we were aiming for a very small tarn. I think we could have navigated correctly to it, but it was .. very handy, to get the GPS out when we knew we were close and have it go “it’s 100m over there, here, let me show you”.

So.. the tarn:

Really nice spot.. and actually warm enough to have a rinse in. Not quite deep enough to have a swim in (which was probably closely related to why it was warm enough ;)

Nice sunset too..

more sunsetsunsetMaaike and I

Walk out the next day was pretty uneventful, much quicker than on the way in… and my wasp? sting (I got stung at the very start of the tramp) was beginning to go down, which was nice.

spot which finger was stungsun, tarns, awesomenesssteepish ascent

More nice views!

So yes, all in all an excellent tramp, great to be off the beaten bath a little bit.

Oh, a link to the Topomap .. it really was quite a small tarn!

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Kowhai Saddle… bit more rugged than last time.

Well, I could be getting old (I mean, I am, every day, though it being my birthday recently it’s ever so slightly more in the front of my mind)…. but… headed off for the weekend to kowhai hut. It’s a tramp I’ve done a few times now, I do enjoy it.. but damn it was hard work!

kowhai saddle map

It’s a 4ish hour walk (slightly more than last time… maybe the heat.. maybe.. too much excess and largesse in my life!) to the summit – which affords nice views of Kaikoura.

Mt Fyffe

It’s also a nice place to Skype your partner? in GERMANY.

This world is ridiculous. I remember growing up with a ZX Spectrum 48K… now you can call someone for free from the top of a mountain on the other side of the planet. Ridiculous.

Anyway, pretty hot work getting to the top. I really don’t fair well in hot weather… and even though I was drinking quite a bit of water I was slightly headachy. I write this in here as I suspect I generally only write that it was a great tramp… and in fairness it was good to be out stretching the legs, but it’s not all roses.

ridgemore scree

There are a few scree slopes to descend before you get to the saddle. It’s not the nicest scree in the world.. but you do get to descend quite a bit quite quickly, and I’d rather descend it than climb it.

tricky descent

Now, the section of “track” (unmarked mostly) from the saddle down to the hut is supposed to take 2 hours… but it took us three… and we’re not that slow. The route had really deteriorated since last we were there.. we missed the odd shortcut simply because things were overgrown. It’d certainly not be a tramp to do unless you were relatively fit, and a reasonable navigator.

spaniard grassIMG_0507

Still, the Spaniard grass was in flower, the river clean and cool, and some funky spiders (which narrowly avoided being squished due to Maaike’s sharp eyes).. It was so nice to eventually reach the hut after 11 hours of walking (give or take).. we had the place to ourselves which was nice.

kowhai hut

So, a great sleep (extremely well deserved) and then a shortish walk out the next day. The track down was quite well marked which made a welcome relief from the day before. Again, lost the optimum route a few times, which in one place made for a slightly more dodgy traverse than would have been wished for… but all in all… a good tramp.

wrong wayriverbed

Next time I think we’ll do something a tiny bit easier.

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New Look for the New Year

Warning, slightly geeky post

The more observant of you may have noticed that they layout has changed slightly on the olde blogge. I had a little bit of time over Christmas and one of the things I’ve been meaning to do is to make the site ‘responsive’.

The idea for responsive design is that the site should degrade nicely as the screen size gets smaller. If you look at it on a mobile, or tablet, or a big screen it should look slightly different. You can see this easily by simply resizing your browser window.

I self host my blog on site5 which I must say I have been very happy with. The blog itself is built on wordpress and the theme I used as a starter for this is roots.io which itself uses the awesome bootstrap css framework. I cannot recommend more highly using a framework like bootstrap or Zurb Foundation if you are going to make any sort of website…. they really make the layout so so SO much easier to do.

Someday maybe I’ll be ‘cool’ and move to a statically generated blog (so there’s no database, everything is just created into static pages… fast to serve and bombproof). The only thing is, then the comments are held in disqus which I simply hate as a service… and I like the idea of having _all_ the content rather than most of it under my control and part of it (the interesting bits, the comments, do love comments.. comments comments comments ;) hehe, held by some 3rd party.. never a good idea).

Anyway, that’s about it for the update.. but for anyone wanting to play with laying out a website.. I highly recommend the above.

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Mt. Owen for New Years

Mount Owen TopomapThere was a small gap in the weather during which Maaike and I skipped off to Mount Owen (topomap).  It’s an interesting place Mount Owen.  Not unlike the burren in the west coast of Ireland – a karst landscape (i.e. limestone exposed to the elements).

We weren’t quite sure what the weather was going to do… but just hoped that the predicted one day of sunshine (or at least, not rain) would fall on the day we wanted to get to the summit.



There is simply heaps of really interesting vegetation on the way up, and it changes constantly as you head up the hill.

innit prettywaterfalltree

The final approach to the hut (where it was just the two of us on the 30th) was up a river… I do enjoy a good scramble up a river :)

tread carefullyme in rivermaaike in river

The next day we left early ish so that we could hopefully make the most of the weather. It wasn’t looking that promising really to begin with (which was extremely disappointing!) fortunately it cleared pretty quickly. There is a trackish to the summit, but for a lot of the way you’re just following cairns. Mount Owen is not a place to go to in fog.. there are holes everywhere and people die / get into real issues fairly regularly..

no mistmist

We saw these two having a fight (as it turned out – I do love naturewatch.org.nz) on the way up… Also just awesome limestone for scrambling about on. It’s not a simple tramp.. but it is a good one.

death fightkarst at mount owentree in rock

The view from the top was spectacular.. really lucky that we had the weather window. We met a couple of German tourists heading up on our way down… when they finally got to the top (after a decent days walking as they’d started at the carpark that morning).. they were rewarded with thick cloud.

We had a lovely evening playing 500 with a couple from Nelson we met in the hut. They were (most) kind and shared their bottle with us to celebrate the new year.

On the way out again the ‘river’ that we’d walked up was now dry (though it was raining). It’s a crazy old place NZ.

champagneWhere's the water?

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