3 WEEKS IN CAPTIONS
We celebrated Jess’ 33rd birthday with an overnighter at Castlepoint.
Castle rock in the distance. Once those cars cleared out, we had the place to ourselves.
Looking for dolphins/whales/James Cameron.
On my hike to the summit I caught a few surfers dodging sharks.
Summit view. Pissed I paid that boater $250 to spell a J for Jess’ birthday and she didn’t even join me 😦
For the birthday dinner we cooked up tortellini stew with handtorn bread, orange almond cupcakes and chardonnay. Determined to preserve the vibe I left the van lights on for one too many songs. We awoke to a dead car battery.
This is Holly. Holly found Jess on the beach during my hike and never left her side all weekend. Even when we ducked into a cave to wait out a storm, she jumped up the rocks and shivered beside us. When it was time for bed, she barked to come inside the campervan. To my surprise Jess slid open the door and Holly burrowed into her sleeping bag. On our way out of town, we dropped her off at Castlepoint Station, her dog tag-listed home. Little did she know she was thisclose to becoming a Wellington dog.
2. Taranaki, Waitomo Caves & Raglan
Back on the road for a long labour day weekend.
We drove to Mount Taranaki on Friday in the dark. With hopes of summiting, I was gutpunched to wake up and find the peak covered in late season snow. Bugger! Without proper mountaineering gear we choose the safer hike up and around the volcano for a waterfall lunch instead.
Just follow your nose around the mountain…
Four hours later we arrived at Bells Falls. Just us and the bugs and this 100 foot waterfall. We ate a lunch of beef sticks, almonds, pretzels, peanut butter and brownies. While setting up a photo, my camera tumbled off this rock and fell four feet to the riverbed. Thank God, Allah, Buddha and the stars above that it survived the fall.
Climbing our way back to the car. Another four hours of me reminding Jess how fun this was 🙂
From Taranaki we continued north to Waitomo to explore the famous glowworm caves. We typically avoid guided tours as I find “adventure” to be a relative term, often misused by companies with lawyers and incentive to lure customers of any kind. But this tour, “the abyss” with the Legendary Blackwater Rafting Company, was Pixar worthy. It started with a 100-foot rappel into a cave, then a pitchblack zipline deeper into the cave before we reached this underground river which we floated on tubes while ogling at the zillions of glowworms. Five hours later we climbed two waterfalls to reach daylight. HOW COOL RIGHT!
Further north we arrived at Raglan, a chill little surf town on NZ’s rolling northwest coast. Our idea of wine & cheese on the beach was worthy of a sandblast to the face.
That night we stumbled into an outdoor reggae DJ set, as you do. This far-flung, slow-paced, tie-dyed town of 2,500 reminded me of Girdwood, Alaska. Definitely check this one out.
Jess feeling the beat.
3. Rangitikei River
Scott’s first bro weekend of whitewater kayaking. Last weekend I ventured north once again – this time by myself – to Mangaweka, basecamp for two days of kayaking the Rangitikei river with my workmate Shane and a few friends. I had the place to myself Friday night.
I didn’t bring my camera on the water, so sadly I’ve got zero photos from the kayak trip. But I will say this. It was my first time down a whitewater river in a kayak, and though the rapids were only class two, I found them formidable as hell in my rudderless creek boat. I swam a few times, got separated from my boat, screamed in frustration, ached in pain – but hey that’s learning I suppose. My second run on Sunday was much better. No swims and even a few smiles. It was a great adventure with new friends. Thanks Shane for planning such an awesome weekend.
There it is. Three weekends in one post. It’s been busy here in Wellington as the days get longer and the sun warmer. And it’s about to heat up again as my sister Kelly and her husband Adam arrive tomorrow. Our first visitors! In six days we ferry south for our first proper road trip through the southern alps, capped off with the Queenstown marathon. Can’t wait to share it with you guys. Thanks for reading.