Wednesday, December 24, 2008

merry christmas ya all!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

!GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS! -but the snow keeps melting and the rivers flow full!

All pics by me (Nick Gordon) unless otherwise credited.

Spring is prime time to go boating in the south of New Zealand, so what better plan than to quit your job (again), spend your savings on a beat up old van, and go run the shit with like minded legends. Of course we could heed the advice of the wise economist, huncker down, save that coin and weather the financial storm… but there would be no Xtreme after Team if we decided that was the way to live. Booyah!

I charged on down to CHCH and picked up this sweet thing. I had bought her on Trademe a few weeks prior just going on the pics that had been posted... test driving is fully overrated.

The Homy in all her glory.

First stop the Upper Waiau for some long weekend fun time.
Hiking over into the Upper Waiau.

Views like this kept the crew ploddin. KT gettin it done.

And with an evening like this who was to know.... we were gonna get snow!

The resurrected bivvy after a catastrophic failure due to unexpected snow loading. Unfortunately there were no practicing engineers present so we could only blame the heavens.

We got snowed on at night, we were hailed on during flight, we were shouted down by the gail who hid outta sight... we dominated!

From Left: Ben, Coop, Rach, Mike, Viv, Me, KT and James strikin up a grand finale pose.

After a soak at Hanmer and a bit a shut eye Coop, Ben and I were off south to score some Waikaia treats.
As usual we wern't disapointed.

Nick, Waikaia. Photo: Coop de loop Lambla

Runnin one of the burlier lines on the run, its actually a lot nicer with more water than less. We had a nice flow.
Paddler: Me Photo: Coop Lambla

The Waterfall of Death is a two tier drop which flows off the first 2.5-3m drop, takes a right angle bend to the right and then off the second 3-4m drop pictured below. A choice of three or four runnable lines off the first drop makes it a very funky rapid. I had a dodgy line getting shunted into the wall after the first drop and held there for some time way back in the shadows in the photo below. I managed to keep it under control holding rail and slowly ruddering to the position i am in in the shot below getting a hurried last minute boof stroke in to clean up the mess i was in. The others had mega lines down.
Me defying death on the Waterfall of Death after a hairy but upright line. Photo: Coop Lambla

Ben airin it out on the first drop. Coop to the left runnin that all important safety.

Ben Robson, sweet lines all day long....

Coop with a style line on the double drop.
1 of 2

2 of 2

We then rallied to Queenstown to get some of what the Nevis had waiting for us. On the way we showed QT what kayak scum is all about.
Quote Coop: "We couldn't afford a room at Rydges"

I was chargin on the Nevis, running a few apparently usual portages.

#1. Photo: Coop Lambla

#2. You wont believe me but I barely even got my hair wet. Bens got the film. Photo: Coop Lambla

#3. Photo: Coop Lambla

The runout to one of the many very continuous rapids on the river.
Sandy and Si spewin out the lines for us all day long.

But all good things must come to an end, unfortunately this was a pretty shit end for our day out. Sandy had run Big Brother (the top rapid in the pic below) among the other gnarl that was on offer only to pop his shoulder on some G4 boogy water. He swam some heinous little drops with his dislocated wing flapping around at the mercy of the rapids before getting to the side. Ben and Si paddled out the 40mins to call for a chopper. Three hours later and nearing nightfall we were stoked to hear the 'thunk' 'thunk' 'thunk' of the rescue chopper. We were greeted by a single policeman with "you must be in a lot of pain, sorry were a bit late!" No complaints from Sandy, just "no worries, get me the fuck outta here". So with his shoulder out for three hours and with failed efforts from Coop and me at relocating the shoulder, Sandy showed what a TC he is and hauled himself back up the river to where the chopper was perched on a massive rock (top left of the pic below). Sandy your the Man. Heal quick bro.

Sombre times. Sandy wrapped in a space blanket, Coop keepin his spirits alive and what was a sunny day turning into dusk.

We needed some cheering and the towns of Cromwell and Ross must have known. On consecutive nights we were greeted like kings and almost banished in the same instance. Coop decided he wanted to get real close to the action and drove onto the launch pad within 2 minutes of detonation. Lucky hes a smooth talker "oh yer sorry mister, we were just trying to turn around". And since when has a barrier ever meant keep out? sheesh!

Me. 'Showcase' on the Taipo. Photo: Simon Henson

I then made it back to CHCH, boasted to Nev about all the cool shit I was up to and then told him to get back to the study while I set off for round two on the Waikaia. Haha, I mustn't have made that easy for you aye bro. Cheers for puttin me up!
Kent Huxford on the Waterfall of Death. Much lower flow than last time.

Si had been lonely since his main bro Sandy was outta action. He was stoked to see me back in town and keen for some huckin. Si and I hit Nevis Bluff and Citroen while we waited for Ben and Kent to shimmy on down from CHCH and Wanaka respectively. The Waikaia was the go once again. Lower water meant we could clear logs from the cave entrance to get this little gem cleaned up and free flowing once again.
Si (Rudsy) with the massive over boof. If you look hard you can see light through the cave entrance above the falls.

Nev goes the big 2-1!

Art by Rach Saartoff, captured by me.

The next day Nev's flatmate Andy lined up the free diving catch of his life.


Nev and Gaz giving me that all important safety net from the eddy below.... the high five.
Photo: Rach Saartoff. Styx river, West Coast.

The last two weeks have been special with Nev and Rach rollin in the Homy with me. Always a mission on the mind, a smile on the face and a mean feed. Even eel for breakfast! Gosh, we did roll in style.
Ma 'Homys' Rach and Nev at the Crooked put in.

Wilzy showin us grandpas how the new school rolls... mad style. Crooked River, West Coast.

Team Epic... i mean .. um .. er..... prepared?? hmmm. Dando musta been shakin his head lookin at my sorry ass haul itself into the whirly bird. Funny where a handful've cash 'll get you aint it.
From Left: Nick Gordon, Wilzy Martin, Cooper Lambla, Nev Wilson, Mike Nash. Arahura River, West Coast.

-a big long story of epic proportions goes in this space but it's long... infact it went past midnight including a 111 call and SAR, but like i said.... its long, so ask either Mike, Nev, Coop, Wilzy or me for the low down-
Mike 'MacGuiver' Nash launching off Dent Falls, Arahura River. RIP Burnie.

To wrestle with the Homy and win is a feat only mother nature could pull off. "Wind so strong it peels gutters off a Homy and destroys Thule racks" its a myth that will be told through the generations of kayakers to come. At least we got two unreal runs down the Totara'bezi' at its wambezi-best. The rocks rolling on the bottom of the river bed actually sounded like thunder over our heads. Insanely good times.
Coops shiny new Magnum 80 once again showed us that its not afraid to tackle the big stuff be it on the river or the side of the road destroying fence posts as they got in its way.

We hauled another monsta cray from the depths. Stretched out he measured the length of an arm! Needless to say we dined very well once again. Bam!
Spied by Nev (glove and flipperless - Nev style) and hauled outta the depths by 'Action Man' Gordon.
Photo: Rach Saartoff.

With full bellies we headed off up the Perth.
The back of my head. Photo: Nev Wilson

Sam and Nev charging on the Perth River, West Coast.

The coast definitely delivers on the sunset front. Okarito, South Westland.

Thats been the most of my 5 weeks trippin
around the south gettin some quality time with quality people in quality NZ. Bring on the summer time sunshine. Did someone say Crisis??

Cheers to all you that put me up for a night or three. See you again in Jan!

Nick and the Homy

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

The time fillers

Since we found out about our job managing the lodge, we have been in all directions filling in time before we start at the start of Dec...

We left Hope with our van loaded with all our stuff and another road trip ahead of us (minus one team member). Our goal was to finish exploring the Canadian Rockies, so we continued south east ish. We first headed to Kelowna to catch up with Dave Aubrey and check out his new place. Kelowna, Dave, Colin and Leslie were awesome to stay with and after a few nights of catch up we hit the road again, south to a town only 30min away, but because the road was closed it took us more like 2 hours (good thing we have off road tyres now!).

Oh the fall colours of the Maple Tree

So this town was called penticton and rumours were it hosted great climbing (Skaha). So we checked it out, lucky we had Daves local knowledge - otherwise im not too sure if we would have ever found it. With no guide book we just walked around and attempted stuff that "looked" like it was in our league. Which turned out to be a great day. Upon reitirng to the van in the car park and cooking up some dinner we bumped into a couple (also living out of their car) who were climbing also. They kindly offered to show us the ropes so to speak, and we accepted because they had a guide book and we didnt. Turns out they were a bit better than us (not hard to be really) and we ended up top roping some of the stuf they were getting on...

We climbed there for 3 days but barley scraped the surface, this place had endless amounts of rock still waiting to be climbing. We took photos of the others climbing guide and hit up some stuff more in our climbing range and also climbed to the tops for some views.


The endless amounts of rock!

From there we continued South through the Okenhagen Valley towards Nelson. Luckily enough I got hold of some of my friends from NOLS and got to have some good old catch ups. Nelson was a great little town, we hiked around, shopped, went to hot springs in a cave, and drank a lot of tea. Shaun found his whole ski touring set up in a second hand store, and is waiting impatiently for some snow!

Waving good bye to my friends Roger and Jeff, we contiued to Golden - ready to move out of the van and into a room you can walk in and a bed you can sit up in without straining your neck. That night we had the best sleep in ages!!

Wait but it dosnt end there...we actually leave Golden the next day towards Banff and went to the infamous film festival, which was awesome! We then headed down to Calgary to visit some extended family of Shauns, Sue and Nigel. They had a house out of the city on about 22 acres, it was so nice to be out in the country, it felt like we were back in Canterbury. Sue and Nigel made us feel super spoiled and it was great to feel so welcome. We got to explore some of the foothills and the area.

Fresh snow, fresh bear tracks!

We also explored a town called Drumheller, which is located in this really interesting valley in the middle of nowhere in the praries. This town has the biggest dinosaue museum in the world. Turns out a lot of dinosaurs were found in the area...

Some of the landscape was pretty cool

This T-Rex was chasing us, but Shaun managed to shake him off just in the nick of time!

We then headed back to Banff for the final screening of the winning films and the awards ceremony, it was a really good night and was cool to see were it all starts from. Late that night at about 2 am we make it back to Golden...and here we are now exploring some of the local sights etc... and filling in time.

There is a local Wolf farm, which was uprisingly intresting - these wolves were huge! and so gorgoeus

We have been getting snow regularly but unfornatly the temps are not cold enough for it to stay, today we played around in excitement, shauns about to cane himself in the photo above..

So this brings us up to date in where we are at, we are happy to have a roof over out heads now and a full kitchen to cook in!

Just wanted to thank everyone who has helped us out on way or another - this has really made out trip! So thank you we really appreciate it!

well keep you posted on how the snow is going...