Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Trip Up Mt. Wellington

 On Sunday, Barbara, Karen and I drove to the top of Mt. Wellington and then did the Organ Pipes hike.  The view from the top was quite amazing, as was seeing the alpine eucalyptus trees.  However, the wind was wicked, so I only took 2 photos as I was being blown over while trying to take them!  Great views of the area.

Morning Runs With Wilbur

Today was my third time on the 5km loop from the house I'm staying in and my second time with Wilbur.  We stopped to take some photos in the morning light this time.  None of which do it justice. Such a great way to start the day; run, ocean, dog. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Made it to Tasmania

In my early days in New Zealand, I had the good fortune of attending two conferences, one in Tongariro National Park, titled "Doom," and one at the University of Canterbury's field station in Cass (near Arthur's pass).  There are longer blog posts about fun had at both of those, but the relevance here is that I had the chance to talk with Barbara Holland at those conferences and that lead to me arranging to spend a week in Hobart, Tasmania visiting Barbara and her colleagues Jeremy Sumner and Peter Jarvis and others.  Thus my next few posts will be about the fabulous time I'm having here.  

Below is the view from the deck on the house where I am staying.  Barbara, Karen and Wilbur have graciously welcomed me into their home.  Wilbur is the star of these photos, although Barbara makes a supporting appearance in this first one on the right. 
 Wilbur and I went for the run shown below this morning.  It is a super 5km we can run from the house along the water on trails and beach.  The fall light with the water breaking and the birds makes for an extraordinary run.  I definitely need to take the camera one morning...

Shoe Sacrifice 2

It seems I've fallen a bit behind.  This is both a function of not doing much besides work and a function of getting wrapped up in mathematics, hanging out with my Mom and traveling to Tasmania.
The first weekend I spent with Mom and Jerry, we parted ways in Wanaka, but before I left I went for a fantastic morning run along the lake. It was here that I found a place for the Sauconys.  They lived a good NZ life, but the Ballroom Overhang day with the many river crossings did them in and it was time (look closely to see the large hole and general shredding around it --- there is a matching one on the other shoe). 
 Their final resting place is out on point along the lake.  

 The fall light and low clouds made for a particularly beautiful run and just the right moment for a shoe sacrifice.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fox to Wanaka

 Mom, Jerry and I had one of those nice long drives where the distance isn't that long, but we stopped at lots of interesting places and had a great day. 

We went for a short hike through a great rain forest to this amazing little cove.  
 We stopped at a bunch of waterfalls, but Thunder Creek Falls was our favorite.  The views as we drove along Lake Wanaka were great, but then we came over a saddle to the view of Lake Hawea below.  Something about coming over a saddle to a new stunning view.  Of course, photos online will never do it justice. 

Fox Glacier...

...I have Mom's photo for the Christmas card this year!

I won't put mom's age in the blog, but this is pretty cool.  I have a pile of photos from my adventure on the Fox Glacier with Mom and Jerry and I'll just include a smattering.  It is tough to pick and choose...

We had some great views of Mt. Tasman and the full glacier (left) as well as the front end of the glacier (right).

 Mom says she is not fond of heights, but she was a star as we navigated our way over the cliff on the steps on the right. 

The hike onto the glacier looks quite steep from this angle (left)!

We also all had a good chance to pose with the ice axe (right). 

Many features everywhere including  moulin and crevasses...

These glaciers recycle and grow and move really fast.  The front of the glacier is only about 60 years old, but overall it is shrinking, but then again it grows a bunch.  

...including ones they packed up a bit so we can walk through them and a wee ice cave. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mom & Jerry Arrived!

Mom and Jerry arrived on Thursday and we went to the Twisted Hop for dinner with Maree --- my favorite beer in town, it was nice of them to go with me.  We wandered around downtown for a bit and Jerry took some good pictures! All signs of the September and February earthquakes --- mostly February 2011. 

 On the left is a map of Downtown showing the areas that are blocked off for construction and destruction. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


The day started out really cold and this is the fog finally starting to lift just before we started to run. 

I have now completed 4 trail marathons.  5:16:16, 5:26:01 and 5:19:46 and yet I really thought I should be able to do one in under 5 hours. 

 I did it! Arrowsmith Marathon time: 4:53:!4.  That time includes a big climb of 2278 ft. besides all the rest of the up/down along the way and stopping to take pictures! When stopping to take pictures I thought of the single speed world champs philosophy that there is 1st place (I was pretty sure that was not me) and everyone else.  Turns out just under 3 minutes faster and I would have won my age group --- maybe I shouldn't have taken pictures... :)  I had no idea.

The first pictures I took were as we rounded the corner at the top of the ridge.  The fog is still lifting. Then later, near the bottom of the Arrowsmith valley we could see up into the mountains with a glacier.
 Mike Steel (U. of Canterbury host) brought tequila to celebrate finishing the marathon.  David Wahl (U. of Canterbury) joined us.  While tequila may not seem to make sense, the problem Mike and I have been discussing grows out of a tequila drinking game used as an example in a paper in the The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.  I finished with a homemade salad with roast veggies and steak.  Great day!
While I'm still pretty proud of myself, Tom pointed out that the starting elevation of my run was only 2288 ft. and all my other attempts started over 5000 ft.  On the other hand, I was carrying a pack with 3 L. of water to start as well as all the clothing they make us carry, a first-aid kit and a camera.  I'm going with its a wash. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Old Ghost Road

 I just love signs like this.  Rocks, cyclist off bike and flying. 

Last day of fun on the West Coast we did a 52km ride on the new "old ghost road."  This is a trail following more mining history and designed for mountain bikes.  It was a bit monotonous, until we hit the ridge line, but still super. 
 Signs we are reaching the bush line --- Alex called them "Dr. Seuss trees."  Absolutely.  I need to look up their proper name.
One of the big scanning photos with Alex in it. She's in the photo below too, if you look close enough.  We were pretty excited to reach part of the trail above bush line. 

 We hit a beautiful spot to hang out, eat some chocolate and head back down.  We knew the end of the trail was not too far away, but thought it was a bit further away down the road.  Alex headed down and I went investigating.  It was literally just around the corner --- less than 1 km from our hang out.
 I just had to take, yet another picture of a great New Zealand sign --- just before the rock falling picture...