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1999-2000 Self Development

Climbing Mt Ruapehu

When? Queen's Birthday Weekend
Where? Tongararo National Park
Who? Brendan, Darryn, Raewyn + MOB + Eastman Rovers

Me, Brendan & Darryn went down Fri night - Karlene, Keith (from MOB and ex Waitakere), Warren and Penny (from Eastman Rover crew) met us there Sat morning. We stayed in the Horopito hut. On Sat we were going to walk up Mt Ruapehu with our packs, and camp on the summit, but when we got to top of the bruce the chair lifts weren't going because it was too windy. We revised our plan to do a tramp into Blyth Hut from Mountain Rd for the night, tramp back, drive to Turoa and walk to the top from there with just our day packs. So we drove to Mountain Rd and tramped to Blyth Hut, which took - I'm not sure how long it took acutally. The walking time was 1.5 hours - I don't think we took too much longer than that. The weather was overcast, and it started to rain a bit just before we got to the hut, not much though. We got to the hut before 4pm I think. The hut was quite nice, and it had a nice warm fire inside. It was very dark though. We mucked around a bit (me, Brendan and Darryn went for a walk for me to take some photos, at which time we tried out the timer, which I'd never used before), then cooked dinner.

Karlene and Keith had sizzlers for dinner. Karlene was sent in to the room to fetch them, she came back fuming, really mad at Keith - "Why did you get cheese sizzlers? I asked you twice to make sure they weren't cheese sizzlers! You know I don't like cheese ones!". A little while later when the sizzlers were nicely frying in the pan, Karlene came back into the room looking a bit sheepish, carrying another packet of sizzlers. Yes, you guessed it, Karlene had grabbed the wrong packet - she'd got mine & Brendan's double cheese sizzlers! Keith had got the right ones after all. As you can imagine we found great hilarity in that.

After dinner we played cards a bit, then went to bed at around 9.30. We got up pretty early the next morning - actually it wasn't that early especially considering the time we went to bed. Had breakfast and tramped out (left at 8.30). Got to mountain road before 10. It was a fantastic - not a cloud in the sky and not much wind. After repacking our bags we set off for the top. As predicted, the boys were way ahead of us. Me & Karlene were actually quite stuffed, even to start with, having already done a tramp with a full pack that morning I guess. We took lots of breaks of course. My legs got quite worn out, it was a realy struggle to keep going after a while. We kept plodding on though (very slowly). Me & Karlz kept walking, getting slower and slower as the peak got closer and closer. We met some guys coming down and we asked them how much further. They said we were about half way! I felt like stopping right there & then. Not long after that Warren came down. He said that they couldn't get to the top as it was too icy. So we decided to turn around. They were only about 250 metres further on than us (they got to about 200 metres from the top), so we didn't feel too bad. We were just above the highest T Bar when we turned around, which is about 3/4 of the way I think. Going down was a lot easier, though it seemed like a long way.

We got back to the hut to find that the water wasn't going! Oh well, no hot shower. Nothing to it but to head straight for the hot pools! They were absolutely packed (the worst I've ever seen them), so we decided to have dinner first at the same old takewaways in Turangi. Had a nice soak in a private spa then went to the main pool for more of a soak, got out at 7.30 ish, headed back to the hut. Back at the hut the water still wasn't working (we had rung the plumber but he hadn't come), so Brendan rung again and he told him how to fix it, which he did. The rest of us sat around reading magazines. Then we went to bed! Warren slept out on the porch in his bivvy bag. Next morning we stopped at Waitomo on the way home to take some picutres, and at Hamilton to take some pictures.

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Pinnacles Tramp

When? 18-20 June
Where? Kareaunga Valley
Who? Brendan, Darryn, Raewyn

Written in the style of a letter to an absent friend:

Anyway, let me tell you what we just did in the weekend ... we did the Pinnacles tramp! Boy are we feeling energetic. We were going to do it overnight and stay at the hut, but it was booked up. It sleeps 80 and it was booked in the middle of winter, can you believe it! If we'd had our tents we would have been ok, but I didn't think it would be busy at all, so we didn't bring them. Oops. So we did a day tramp on Saturday and stayed at Onemana the night, and did the Pinnacles on Sunday. This was me, Darryn and Brendan BTW. The weather was fantastic, pretty amazing since the week before was raining continuously! The view from the top was really good, we could see all the way to Onemana and Whangamata. I took lots of pictures - I had used the whole film before I knew it - I should have saved a photo because I haven't got any of me on the top (lots of Darryn though). I took a nearly 360 degree panormana, hope it comes out ok. The climb up to the pinnacles was quite hard - we had to literally climb up rocks and 2 ladders. It was a little scary on the top, as there was a bit drop! I was a bit nervous with Brendan and Darryn scrambling over rocks etc. The climb down was hard too. I went down on my bum most of the way. Did I mention the views? Spectacular. When you went up did you see the hut? It's quite new, so I'm not sure if you would have seen this one or not. It's not a hut at all, it's a luxury mansion! It's huge! It would make a really nice house, it's got a great view. It has solar lights and cold showers. A real contrast to the one we stayed in on Mt Ruapehu which we thought was nice, but was really a pokey little room compared to this holiday villa. Actually I should have taken a photo of it, but I used all my film up of course. I was pissed off about that. On the way down Darryn opted to go the long way, me & Brendan opted for the short way. It was meant to take 1 hour from the hut to the hydro camp, it took 30 mins. From the hydro camp it was meant to take 2 hours for me & Brendan - it took 1 hour 5. It was meant to take 3 hours for Darryn, it took 1 hour 15. He ran of course. Even so, the times are a little long. You have already walked it though, so I guess you know. Do you remember the stairs? There were so many of them! Funny how I didn't notice them so much coming up - going down they seemed endless. My knees & legs were real sore by the end. On Saturday Darryn's car broke down. A frost plug fell out which meant it had to be filled up with water all the time. We called the AA and had a long wait in Thames while he came. But eventually it was fixed, so hurray for the AA! That was a wee bit of excitement. Getting back to Sunday, we stopped at Miranda on the way home - lovely! Going back a bit to Saturday morning, Darryn just had to stop in Thames to get 'one of those tin foil things' which was a Donner Kabab. Remember when he had one there on our way to Onemana last summer? He hasn't had one as nice since, so he had to stop to get one. We were going to have one on the way home too, but it was closed. We had to have Chinese instead, which was nice as we were starving.

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Camel Hunt

When? 17 July 1999
Where? Auckland
Who? Brendan, Sarah, Raewyn

This was a photographic frenzy, which we organised, so we didn't participate. The aim was to take a roll of film around Auckland, each photo corresponding to a clue on a piece of paper. It seemed to go down quite well. While that was happening we did some shopping for the Gang Show Party which was on that night. We judged the camel hunt at the Gang Show party. Roskill won - yay Roskill! We expect something just as original for the Camel Hunt next year.

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Indoor Go Karts

When? 3 August 1999
Where? Parnell
Who? Brendan, Raewyn

With the associates. After some of our recent practice me & Brendan did quite well (we competed in partners) - we were quite proud to gain first place. It was fun, but I prefer the Henderson circuit as they have automated timing there instead of having to rely on your partner pressing the button (and missing the right time to press it as we did and hence stuffing up the whole timing).

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Ski Weekend

When? 3-5 September 1999
Where? Ruapehu
Who? Brendan, Darryn, Raewyn (+ Karlene and Keith)

Our Ski Weekend: A novel by Raewyn Smith

We left Auckland at about 7pm on Friday, made 2 stops (BK in Hamilton for Darryn's dinner and petrol station in Taumaranui) and got to National Park about 11.30. Found that Eivans was still open, so we stopped there to hire our skis. Then we went on to the Discovery Motor Lodge, unpacked the car and slept. The Motel room was very like the one we had last time, just a little bit smaller I think.

We awoke at 6.30am (aren't we good) and were ready to leave by about 7.30. There were heaps of people heading up to the mountain, even though it felt really early. We got to park in Car Park #2, which is pretty good. The weather was unlimited visibily and bright sunshine. We were on the lifts by about 8.30 I think - must be the earliest we've ever got up there! The queues weren't too bad, but there were quite a few people there. Lucky we got there so early, otherwise I think we would have had to wait for ages to get up the chairlift.

First off we went right to Knoll ridge to get rid of the bags. Then we decided to do Cinder Track platter a few times just to get the feel of it again. It was pretty icy so we didn't feel too good. Brendan heard that the waterfall T was less icy so we decided to head there. Brendan went off looking as though he'd never stopped skiing since last year. Me & Darryn were a bit nervous and stopped at the top of a hill thinking that it looked too steep. I decided I was going to have to do it and forced myself, and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to get down it quite easily. Went down to the T Bar and waited for Darryn ... and waited, and waited. I could see him up the hill having some sort of trouble with his skis. Then he took them off and started walking up the hill. Hmmm. Oh well, I caught up with Brendan and we did the Waterfall T a few times. Surprisingly I caught on quite quickly and felt quite good. We then decided to go to the Cafe and see if Darryn was anywhere to be seen... he wasn't, so we decided to ski right to the bottom. That didn't go too badly. The difficult bit that I remember from previous years of the Waterfall Chairlift (where you ski down the narrow path then turn sharply into a valley) had been made a bit easier. We then skiied down the rock garden, and decided to go up the National to do the home run (first time the National's been open for years). That wasn't too good because there wasn't that much snow and it was hard to find a trail. We had to push ourselves up hills a few places. We came accross some boarders who asked if we knew where we were going. We said "no", they said don't go that way, we've just had to walk to the top of the hill. They were looking nervously down at a ledge, which seemed to be the only way to go. Me and Brendan looked at it a bit nervously too, it looked scary. However we didn't have any choice, so we just went down - it was quite a big buzz actually, quite fun. At the end we ended up at the top of a steep hill with lots of rocks. Brendan managed to find his way down but I gave up and sat down and slid to the bottom. All in all I wasn't very impressed with the home run, although Brendan thought it was ok - I guess he doesn't mind pushing himself up hills as much as I do.

Then we went back up to the top, and met up with Darryn again thanks to cellphones. We decided to have lunch (it was 11.30 ish) since we were at the cafe. Darryn didn't seem to be enjoying skiing much. He was having a hard time getting used to it again and had sore legs etc. I was quite tired by then too. The cloud was coming in too which was a bit depressing. It makes a real difference to how well you can ski depending on whether the sun is shining or not! We forced ourselves back up and onto our skis and kept skiing. I wanted Darryn to take a lesson, but he wasn't too keen. We did the waterfall T a few more times, then decided to try Knoll ridge. Actually Darryn had already done it in the morning - he got onto it by accident. He said it was really easy, wide open flat spaces. I didn't know whether to believe him or not, but he seemed to be telling the truth. It was a really good run. There is this nice wide valley that is not very steep and very fun to ski. I quite liked it. Darryn liked it too. His skiing wasn't too bad really, he was looking a lot better than I remember from a few years ago. He seemed pretty depressed about it still though, he was probably just annoyed at Brendan's fantastic skiing.

We got a phone call from Keith who said him & Karlz were at the Top of the Bruce Café. By about 3.15 we decided that we were too stuffed to do anything else. We still had to make it to the bottom though - hard work. There were lots of people (bad skiiers) skiing down the waterfall Chair, so it made it a bit harrowing. When we got to the Rock Garden and saw how many were there me & Brendan decided we would go down Tennant's valley instead. We looked over the edge and it looked a bit scary (a very narrow path and big drop), but decided just to do it (you can't think too much about things like that or it puts you off). Of course it wasn't too bad at all, not as bad as it looked. We looked up and waited for Darryn, but he seemed to have disappeared ... Oh well, we skiied to the bottom without him, met Karlene and Keith and waited for Darryn ... and waited ... and waited. Must have been over 20 minutes! Brendan went down to the car to see if he was there. Yes he was. Anyway, then we drove back to the Motel, exhausted & sore. For dinner we decided to go the restaurant at the motel. Booked it in for 7.30 and booked a spa for 8.30. Until then we just sat around chatting & snacking, quite pleasant. The dinner turned out to be pretty crap. A meal was about $17 and it said it was with Vegetables and Potatoes. Vegetables were packet mixed veges & cauliflower. Potatoes were fries. My meal was fish, it would have been ok except it was covered with a very strange tasting sauce. Brendan had smoked chicken, which there was hardly any of. Darryn had steak and was unimpressed. K&K had fish and chips (which were only $10 so not so bad). We all agreed that it was very overpriced. We won't go there again for dinner.

After dinner we rushed to the spa for our hot dip. Everyone got in except Darryn who was scared of the germs. Actually the pool smelt pretty weird, but it was hot and that's the main thing. After our allotted 30 mins we went back to the room and showered and tidied things up for the morning and patted the cat. Then we all went to sleep (about 11pm I think).

Woke up at 6.30am the next morning again. Surprisingly we were pretty quik getting ready, and left by about 7.30am again. That's good considering we had to tidy the whole place up and pack the cars. There didn't seem to be so many people going up the mountain on Sun - no queue going up Bruce Road. We parked in Carpark #1! Short queue to get up the chairlift, but not too bad. At the top of the Cenntenial I managed to embarrass myself by getting my jacket caught in the chairlift (2nd day in a row) and falling over. We (R,B & D) decided to do Rock Garden a few times while there was hardly anyone skiing it. The first time it was pretty icy, not good for confidence. However each subsequent time it got better as the snow softened. Brendan said he would go ahead and catch up to us. I think he was expecting that he would catch up to me & Darryn in 2 goes, as we had done it pretty slowly the first time, with the ice. However we didn't want to let Brendan catch up to us, so we did it as fast as possible. After a few times we got really used to it and whizzed through, dodging fallen snow boarders with ease. It was quite fun. It took Brendan 4 runs to catch up to us - he was hooning the whole way, like not slowing down at all! He was quite impressed/annoyed that it took him so long to catch up with us considering how fast he was going. He expected Darryn to be a bit slower than he was I think. On our last time down the rockgarden Brendan was unable to dodge a snow boarder, and fell over (and hurt his finger).

Anyway, so then we decided to find K&K and see what they were going to do. We rung them up and got the story that they had attempted the rock garden, Karlene had fallen over and had decided to take her skis off and they were walking down the rock garden ... oh dear. We skiied down to catch up with them, and found them at the bottom. Karlene didn't look too happy. She said something about falling down and hitting her head on a rock ... not too sure about that though and she didn't seem concussed, and there was no blood. We went back up the chairlift, and Keith decided to come up the top with us while Karlz went to Pinnacle Platters. After checking our bags in at the top we went down to the Waterfall T and did that, and the Knoll Ridge T, and had an excellent time. There were a few cool jumps on the Waterfall, which made it a very interesting run. I was feeling like a really good skiier :-) Darryn seemed to be feeling pretty good too. Then we went down to find Karlz for lunch. After lunch Keith stayed with Karlene and we went back up to do more of Brendan's favourite - the Waterfall T & Darryn's favourite - Knoll Ridge. We were planning to do something different like the Valley or the Far West, but after lunch me & Brendan were feeling a bit tired, so we never really got around to that. It was quite fun just doing the Waterfall T, as there are some cool jumps, and fast bits. We convinced Darryn to ski up the side of this big hill (kind of a jump if you do it fast enough), and even to ski down the other side too. Keith caught up with us at about 2.30 I think. My legs were getting really tired though. I almost decided to pack it in and keep Karlene company, but the sun came out again (it had started to cloud over), so I kept myself going. It's hard when you're tired, as you can't be bothered turning! I was really shattered by the time we decided to ski to the bottom, didn't know how I was going to do it. Darryn wasn't tired at all by then! He must have been really getting the hang of it because his legs weren't aching like they were on Saturday. He wanted us to do one last run right from the top of Knoll Ridge, but no one else could be bothered. So we skiied down, down, down. And once again waited for Darryn at the bottom, and once again he'd gone straight to the car - Urrgh! We then drove back to the motel, sorted our gear out (we had left our stuff in Karlene's car at the motel), said goodbye, and got on the road. Stopped in Taumarunui at a Chinese place, that I know we've been to before, but no one else could remember. Got home at about 10.30pm.

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Caving Weekend

When? 19-21 November 1999
Where? Waitomo
Who? Brendan, Darryn, Matt, Raewyn, Trudy, Keiran, (Switzerland)

Coatesville agreed to take us caving again, this time to Waitomo. On Saturday we did a cave called Waipuna. It was mostly nice and big, easy to walk through. There were a few wet spots, so it was lucky we had wet suits on. There was one 'duck' (you have to swim under a rock), which was freezing! At the end we had to do some tight squeezes, then abseil down a waterfall - cool! Then the real challenge started - finding our way back to the cars. Coatesville had done it before, and it had taken them 3 hours, but they thought they knew the way this time - sort of. We had to bush crash through tangly viney bush, which was very frustrating. We thought we were completely lost, but we managed to find our way to the road eventually. It only took and hour and a half to get to the car. Not too bad apparently! It took the other group only about 3 quarters of an hour. They must have taken the right turn. The next day we did a cave called Lucky Strike, which started from the same place as the day before but ended at the same place too, meaning no bush crashing. It was far more interesting, and really exciting, sliding down waterfalls, and edging along wall faces. Getting back up was extremely difficult, as it involved climbing back up waterfalls and wall faces (luckily Brendan posed as a step for us). I personally was absolutely stuffed by the end. But it was a real adventure, and I'd reccommend it to anyone who thinks they might like that kind of thing.

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Millennium Filming

When? 3 December 1999
Where? Motu Moana Abseil Tower
Who? Brendan, Darryn, Raewyn, Sarah, Trudy

This was filming for the TVNZ millennium broadcast. We took turns abseiling down the tower and Mark filmed us making deep and meaningful utterances such as "We're Rover Scouts and we're Challenging Life's Limit's in the new millennium". It was quite fun as it was a good opportunity to do a bit of abseiling. Afterwards we had a BBQ in the dark.

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When? 2-7 January 2000
Where? Bay of Islands
Who? Brendan, Darryn, Raewyn, Trudy (+ Karlene and Keith)

The short version:

We kayaked from Waitangi to Rawhiti and camped there for 5 nights. Our longest kayak was to Hole In The Rock (Cape Brett), which was about 23 Km total (there & back). We hired two double "Sea Bear Packhorses" from Auckland (hauled up to the Bay of Islands on Darryn's Holden Commodore), and one from Waitangi.

The long version:

This was a most excellent holiday, lots of fresh air, exercise, adventure and gossip.

We left from Auckland on the 2nd of Jan. We were a bit worried about these 2 huge great big kayaks on Darryn's car. Darryn was in a bit of a bad mood over something or other (I can tell you that safely because Darryn never reads these log reports). We were also taking Andy (our Swiss friend) up to the Bay of Islands for him to camp with some people at Bland Bay.

On that night we stayed with Karlene's Mother in Whangarei - had pizza for dinner. We had trouble finding the pizza place - how hard can it be in a town as small as Whangarei for goodness sake? We played the dictionary game that night, quite fun.

In the morning we set off for Waitangi to pick up kayak #3 - we were a lot later than we thought (after mucking around in Paihia for agesJ) and didn't get to the kayak place till 11am or so. It was about 1pm by the time we set off (it takes a while to put all your gear in plastic bags and shove them in kayak holds, and also Brendan's spray jacket didn't fit so he had to run up to the house to get another one). We did really good time getting over to Rawhiti, and arrived there by 5pm. We got lots of curious stares from those in the campground. I guess they don't get too many people paddling in!

Next day we were going to circumnavigate Urupukapuka, but the wind really picked up by the time we got to the islands, so we ended up sitting in the café/bar place on the Island waiting for the wind to die down (it's really hard paddling against the wind!). In the end (after maybe 2 hours of waiting) we decided to change our plans and kayak around to a really nice beach that was around the point from Rawhiti (Oke Bay I think it was called). We thought it might be a little sheltered there, but we were wrong. It was quite a tail wind on our way round there - a reasonable swell too. Lucky or Sea Bears are very stable, no worries about falling out! When we got to the bay it was nice and calm water, but not much shelter from the wind, which was gale force. The water was nice and refreshing (ie freezing) when we went for a swim. We were quite worried about getting back round the point, as we would be paddling against the wind for quite a while (and some of us were quite stuff already). We even considered lifing the kayaks over to the other side on the point (it was only a very small stretch of land, but a very steep hill in the way), but rules this out as the kayaks were damn heavy, and the path was damn steep. So we gritted our teeth ready for the hell-paddle back. Fortunately it wasn't nearly as bad as we expected and we got back safely.

Next day - we put our Urupukapuka circumnavigation plan into action! The weather was much improved thank goodness. It was a very pleasant day and we really achieved something. We also went snorkling, but although the water was nice and clear we didn't see many fish.

Next day - today was the big one - Hole In The Rock day. Trudy had been whining about Hole in the Rock the whole holiday - she really wanted to kayak through it. We didn't think we would be able to as you need really calm weather to be able to do it safely. It's also quite a way away from Rawhiti, we didn't know if we could make it there and back in good time. Well we started paddling towards it thinking we would see how good time we made, and make the decision whether to keep going or not. We made quite good time, and it looked so close by the time we were half way there, that we just had to keep going. By the way the weather was much improved, nearly dead calm! Yay we made it to Hole in the Rock and Yay we got to paddle through it. Then we had to paddle back to somewhere we could stop for lunch, and by the time we got there we were stuffed, and really needed to stand up. We had been paddling for about 5 hours straight (ok, I'm not quite sure if that's right, I can't remember anymore). We then went for a kayak - again not many fish. Cold water too. We had a long rest on a rocky beach, thawing out in the sun after the freezing swim. Then we paddled back to camp (stopped for an icecream on the way - yes there is a shop out there!).

Last day - Karlz's birthday, time to go home. We knew this wouldn't take too long, so we stopped on Roberton Island to try out the snorkling trail. It was quite interesting - there is a lagoon an the island where they have put some underground signs about the fish etc. There were heaps of people there. It was quite funny snorkling in this waist deep water, which was actually a little murky because of all the people churning it up. At least it was warm! Lovely and warm actually. Did I mention that for summer the weather hadn't been very hot? That's La Nina for you. So after that we paddled back and rendezvouzed with the kayak guy to show him that his kayak was still in one piece. He sounded quite impressed with what we had done. He was quite nice to us, letting us use his washing stuff to wash our other two kayaks that didn't belong to him. He seemed like a pretty good guy. He was American and runs kayaking tours.

Anyway, then we hoisted the kayaks back up onto Darryn's car and headed back to Whangarei (stopping at Paihia on the way to do some of our normal mucking around). McD's in Whangarei for dinner. Karlz's Mum's for the night again (isn't she generous!). Back to Auckland and boring civilization the next day.

Memorable Moments:

  • Darryn shouting "Go Packhorse, Go" every 2 minutes (did someone say they thought he was strange?)
  • The Blair Witch track on the way back from Oke Bay (getting lost in the bush, coming across piles of stones and sticks stuck into the ground).
  • The little kitten in the campground - he was soooo cute. We wanted to take him home with us.
  • Karlene and Keith's little tiffs - great amusement. (can't say too much because I know Karlene will be reading this. Smile Karlene!).

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BP Lodge

When? 22 February 2000
Where? Masonic Lodge
Who? Brendan, Darryn, Raewyn

Well despite trying our hardest to submit a below standard Log Book this year, we again won the BP Shield. According to Roskill we shouldn't have though because Roskill did 2 Scouting service activities while we only did one. Well our programme was rather lacking in service this year, what can we say, it's been a busy year (can you say the word MOOT?). But our log book was the favoured one because it told little adventures, obviously a popular style with the judges (even the BP Lodge night seems like a bit of an adventure in this log book). Anyway, the sytle was a wee bit different this year. We had an engaging talk from the special needs leader. It was quite interesting. Helen also had a speech about the state of Rovering, and she did quite well despite the fact that she was very nervous. Then we had the normal little sammies and sasuage rolls suppled by the nice ladies of the BP Guild.

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