In the thick of that season there were few things more magical than ice - the blocks that emerged, impossibly, from the back of a wagon, steaming not with heat but with cold, the unmistakeable stomp of the iceman conquering the stairwell, gleaming blocks of ice piled on his broad back like enormous melting diamonds.
- Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg
So I appear to have been gone from here for quite some time. Oh dear!
Since I’ve gone so long I thought I would give you a little insight into some of the things that appear to have gotten in the way of blogging lately. Basically, life in the south has been filled with many adventures. There has been lots of running. I like running, especially in the hills. One day I will take the camera with me and show you all where I run every week. It's so beautiful here! And with more tracks slowly opening up again (after being closed for SO long because of earthquake/rockfall danger) there are more places you can safely go. There has also been heaps of riding, especially since M bought himself a mountain bike and I upgraded. The best part about where we live is that you can go mountain biking straight from home without having to drive anywhere and there a lovely big hills to ride up and along on your road bike. I can't wait for summer and not needing to defrost after a ride though!
Anyway, below is just a little snapshot of some of my favourite adventures we've had so far (i.e. the ones where we have taken a camera!)...
Oceania Mountain Bike Orienteering in Central OtagoBack at the start of the year, when it was warm and summery (which seems like a lifetime ago since now buried in winter and the weather outside today is particularly unpleasant) we had several days of mountain bike orienteering in Central Otago. It was fabulous (mostly) and I seem to have become addicted to mountain biking since returning home. Sprint the Bay 2012There has been plenty of orienteering happening this year to distract me and Sprint the Bay was one of the events we traveled to. Basically it is 3 days of sprint orienteering on various maps around the Hawke's Bay region. There was a nice big group of us from Southerly Storm up there to represent the South Island. Exploring the West CoastI'd never been to the West Coast of the South Island so M and I went to check out a bit of it. We stayed in the cutest little house right on the coast at Granity and explored a lot of the historic mining sites near by. The highlight was exploring Denniston and getting to see the incline used to cart the coal down from the plateau. It has to be seen to be believed. It was also the first real test of my new bike. I think we're becoming very good friends! Orienteering Nationals 2012Easter equals the National Orienteering Champs and this year it was up in Auckland so I got to have a little trip home at the same time. 4 days and 4 very different maps and getting to see people I hadn't seen in a long time made for a lot of fun (and lots of sand in our shoes and socks). Mountain biking at CraigieburnWe spent ANZAC Day with friends riding in the glorious sunshine at Craigieburn. Beech forest and incredible views made this a pretty cool day, even if the riding was rather scary in places. Hooning along the Hogs Back track down into Castle Hill at the end was an awesome way to finish a long day in the saddle. TWALKTWALK...THE event of the year. 24 hours of madness in the wilderness with a bunch of friends whilst wearing silly costumes cannot really be beaten. As an added bonus, our team won! Exploring the Mackenzie CountryWhat does one do when there is a long weekend? One goes on an adventure of course! For Queens Birthday we took our bikes for a few days of riding based out of Tekapo. Arriving in the late afternoon we had a beautiful ride along the Richmond Trail above Lake Tekapo as the sun was slowly setting. We got back to the car just before dark! Another day we rode up (and up and up) to the Omarama Saddle and pushed up the Saddle Ridge track even further where it was freezing and there was snow across the tops. We were far too cold to take pictures by that stage! Snow Day!Of course, what is winter without a snow day! I didn't believe snow was coming but that morning it was pouring with rain at our house so I dressed up in my wet weather gear and rode my old mountain bike to work. The closer I got the colder it got and the rain started to turn into ice and then snow flakes. By the time I reached work I was riding through snow drifts. It wasn't long before we were all sent home again! That night was the regular Wednesday night run in the hills and it was crazy because we didn't even need headlights as the snow seemed to light up the sky. Riding in RotoruaLast month we flew up to Rotorua for a few of days of riding in the Whakarewarewa Forest. The first couple of days we competed in a weekend of mountain bike orienteering events but we stayed extra days to explore the forest. It's like mountain bike heaven in there! Some of these adventures have not been so fun though. M and I have just recently returned to our flat after nearly 2 months living out of boxes at friends’ houses while EQC (the earthquake commission) “redecorated” it. That was not fun. Sigh. But now we are home and slowly unpacking again. I really should get a move on with that since I have some very exciting visitors arriving this weekend and it would be nice if the house looked somewhat, well, less like boxes and chaos.
There have also been lots of adventures in the kitchen but that is a story for next time...
Even in the world of today we can see how mighty powers can come apart at the seams when confronted with simple demands for peace, love, food for the poor, and amnesty for the enemies of the state.
- Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
I know, I know. Blah blah blah...
Anyway, before I race off to bed (before racing off before dawn tomorrow for the national orienteering champs in Hawkes Bay...scary!!) I thought I'd just quickly tell you something. Kris's new vegan cake book is out and it's called have your cake and vegan too. It arrived in the mail at my parents the other day which was super exciting!! I was a tester for it so I can tell you that it is awesome. Actually, her cake recipes are pretty much the only ones I ever use.
I whipped up one I hadn't tried for my cousin's birthday last weekend, Bubbie's Chubby Tuxedo Cake. It seemed fitting after how much she adored last year's cake (the oreos got her very excited).
As usual for Kris's recipes it was simple, reliable and worked out perfectly (well, it took a bit longer to cook in our ancient oven and my baking always seems to turn out a bit more moist...not that anyone would complain about that).
It went down a treat and my flatmates gave the leftovers I brought home 5 stars (5 michelin stars actually!). Awesome :)
Anyway, I promise to post more once life settles down and I also promise to post about my exciting (terrifying) news soon!! Oh, and if you were wondering about the title watch this.
Michael and I spent the weekend house-sitting at my mate's property up on South Head. It has to be one of my favourite places and is so awesome to explore. I still get lost! They even have their own private mountain bike park with heaps of single track in steep pine forest and an orienteering map of the whole property. What more could you want?!
On Friday I was up there by myself (well, other than all the animals) so I went for a good long run through all my favourite tracks then, after a rather brief dip in the pool (it's definitely starting to get a bit too cold for that kind of thing!) I took my bike out for a bit of a spin. Saturday Michael and I took the bikes out for a long ride through some of the many trails. Awesome day for a ride.
On Sunday Michael set us an orienteering course to do and we bashed through the bush having a bit of fun and getting in some training before Nationals at Easter. No photos because we were too busy orienteering! We were going to take the double kayak out after lunch but it clouded over and we decided to be lazy instead. But we did do our bit and rake some tracks...
Me and Jess playing at being farmers