Tuesday, January 29, 2013

An Island in the South Pacific

As time shifted yet another year I found myself ringing in 2013 with a trip to New Zealand. Four weeks into the trip I have found myself on a plethora of runs stretching from the West Coast of the South Island all the way down to the Southlands. Accompanying me on my travel have been two of my best friends, Michael Peacher and Will Pruett, both these boys are solid chargers and great to have on the river. We have met up with and been well accommodated by two of our dear Kiwi friends, Barny Young and Jordy Searle, and the Charge has been a priority since day one!

I have been paddling a Red Bliss Stick Tuna which I must say is no where close to as good as the Green Dagger Nomads I am use to slaying it in. I now have a new respect for just how much better of a paddler the Nomad makes me. Truth!

We have a number of runs notched now including the Blackball, Crooked, Kakapotahi, Nevis, Hollyford, Fish, a look at the impressive Gates of Haast, Flood Playboating on the Hawea, Turnbull, The Styx, 2 Day Perth, Kokatahi, 2 Day Whitcombe, and Toaroha Canyon with repeats on a number of the runs!

The whitewater is challenging and continues and most of all dangerous.  The young geology of New Zealand means the rivers have not had much time to form leaving tons of debris to be moved out to sea with every rain and flood. This results in boulder gardens and sieve piles that seemingly go on until the gradient is done. The rivers are glacial fed and have a beautiful aquamarine color as you can see!  I find myself lost in the swirly lines of the metamorphosed rocks and stones, and there are always majestic mountain peeks to your left or right. It's no California but what is! I am happy to be in another land enjoying sunshine and summer while the states work through wintertime.

Short after our arrival Michael Peacher broke his ankle on a throw and go portage, as he found the bottom of the river. It hurts me greatly that his trip has been cut short and as I write this he is in the hospital being recasted and he is on a plane back to the states in two days. Will Pruett has also had a change of heart and is cutting his trip short as well, leaving back to the states a day after Michael. So, this leaves me driving solo for the next five or so weeks. I have full control of the 96 Nissan Vannette, AKA the Lovanette, and I'm gonna keep on charging. We were three and now it is just me! All good though!

Hope you have enjoyed all the photos and I hope the second half of the trip produces just as much action! From a sunny vacation in New Zealand I say to you: Cheers Mate!