Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tahua Toppled

20th December - Because it was there!
Laura, CHRISTINE (sorry Michelle and Christine! - 40 press ups later) and Ana three intrepid CACTI Basic graduates accompanied two home educators and John and Isaac Winsley to tackle Mt Tahua in pouring rain. Mt Tahua rises from its base at Lake Kaniere to an elevation of 1124 m above see level. This is an ascent of 1km in approx. 3 kms of horizontal distance. The first 2 km is mainly a steep ascent with the last km an undulating more gradual exposed ridge above the tree line to the summit.
The persistent rain often kept the track a steady rivulet under our feet once we made the saddle, easing somewhat on the way down. The lake could be seen obscurely on the first lookout and later from above the slip but was lost in cloud along ridge ascending to the top.
We left the road at 7:15 am and made the summit at about 9:45. No view and close to horizontal rain driving from the north made it a quick photo stop before descending to the saddle and taking a snack break in the bush on the southern side of the spur. The rain on top felt close to hail though coming from the north. Not surprisingly the next morning did reveal fresh snow on the alps. The descent was quicker thought the snack break and a massive mud fight among the stragglers was fitted in before making the road again at 11:30am.
A necessary dip in the lake to remove the mud from our jackets, clothing, legs and faces rounded off the morning nicely before heading back to Hoki.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

CACTUS Challenge Dickie Spur

The CACTUS 5 + Instructor - Spurred themselves up to Dickie Spur Hut on the 9-12th Dec.
Sadly, Tim was crook so we had to leave him behind as we didn't want him to puke in the Tuke. We departed at 8:00 pm form Hoki and were on the trail from the Totara Valley Rd end not long after 9:00pm. We crossed the Mikonui and forded the Tuke at the confluence surprising a group of 4 hunters at Mikonui Flat Hut just on dark. After their minds had whirred a while trying to calculate how we were going to fit 10 people on 6 bunks, we assured them we were just passing through and struck out into the night for the lower Tuke.
After crossing the low saddle from the hut we crossed the Tuke at the top of the gorge via the swing bridge over the inky chasm and reached a good camp spot at 11:00 pm. Hoochies up boys! Plastic bag for a ground sheet and that's it. Not a sound as midnight came around.
6:00 am wake up call, breakfast on the river bank. The instructor has gone soft so we escaped the early morning plunge into the river and hit the road for the Truran Saddle at 500m elevation, then the steep ascent from there to Dickie spur Hut cresting the ridge at about 1200m. This an average incline of just under 45 degrees.
We reached the hut by 11:30 am and had a rest up for lunch. Somewhere we realised that Zak had left a member of our party behind at the camp site - CACTI, our friendly green mascot.
The afternoon was spent in good company with lots of card games, too many jokes, survival bag idiocy and general relaxation. Daniel really needed his own hut but we were too compassionate to exile him to the smaller one 20m away. The weather was fairly claggy turning to a light drizzle in the later afternoon.
An early night and and early morning and we were leaving the hut at 6:07 to retrace our steps to Mikonui Flat, reaching the hut about 10:30. On the way Matt employed his SAR training to successfully locate and rescue CACTI the bush monkey.
Matt and Jeremy headed out from here. The rest of the party debated ascending to Healey Creek Hut but it was decided that as we had had a good run and it was a cloudy around the tops with intermittent showers we would settle for finding the start of the track for future reference, have a big feed to lighten the load, and follow the boys out a bit later. The boys later concluded that there were some limitations to how many different things you could throw in a pot and still be able to eat it. Zak needs to work on his caramel making skills.
All in all a great finish to the year, a good work out and heaps of fun.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Hoki CACTI Daniel Hamilton and Zak Hamilton took out the first place in their age group and third over all in the CAPE FEAR challenge in Westport. See a video of the 2007 event. The event is run annually by Buller Outdoor Learning Trust (BOLT) who also run the CACTUS program in Westport.

Zak Neale with his partner was second in this age group as well and fourth over all.

Christine Haver and Laura Hinchliff were third in the girls section for their age group.
Awesome effort from Hoki!

Times and placings are here.

Photos of the event are here.

Photos of Daniel and Zak: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Photo of Zaak (Zak Neale)is here.

Photos of Laura and Christine:1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

(Number 5 starts a sequence of ten.) These are classic!

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