Jan 31, 2011


"4 seasons in a day"

this is just a reminder:
your only life is right now; not tomorrow, next week, yesterday or before.

Jan 29, 2011


photo day

this is joe town.... he's my second favorite canadian in the world.

Jan 28, 2011


clayton southerly

this is hamish... he's thinking about swimming but he's not so sure - it does look like rain.


kaikoura coast track - day 2

Jan 27, 2011


cabbage tree b&b

tonight we prepared a dinner for 5 of the walkers staying with us. when people pay for a meal they usually come up to the cabbage tree b&b (the main house) and we serve it there, eating with them in the dining room. tonight they were a women's walking group from the southern north island. these women are my new heroes. indeed i think hero worship was shining in my eyes all night as i asked them question after question and took suggestions in my palms like precious jewels.

they were all white-haired grandmotherly type figures. i'd say the age ranges were 60's - 80's and they all got together routinely for hikes. not just walks around the block here - they were on day two of a fairly rigorous 3 day tramp.

we were discussing the hikes that i hoped to go on while i was here and where i would go next. i mentioned that tomorrow i would be doing day 2 of the kct -known to be the most difficult day of the tramp and also the day that they had just completed. the little, frail, be-spectacled, white-haired lady across from me - definitely in her 70's if she was a day - looked at me with grand-motherly benevolence in her blue eyes and said,

"i hope you're fit."


pool day

all day.

Jan 25, 2011


kaikoura coast track day 3


mud brick 1 & 2


purple rain

this hasn't been retouched.


goat farm day


stagecoach of the stagepost


new home number 11

the staging post

".....so from research and emails in the attic to plane tickets and road trips i got here and it is so much more than i could have imagined - as all things always are i guess.

linda runs it -with the help of joe the canadian. it's got one main house where i sleep; quite a comfortable place with a big australian veranda covered in wisteria, prayer flags, lanterns and hanging laundry and chairs and small side tables and hiking boots and welcome mats. the porch looks out onto a pretty lawn, manicured and overgrown at the same time. the grass is short and even but there are plots of flowers overgrown with mint and lavender and weeds. it's hot and sunny here - much warmer than little river, and this afternoon i'm going to jump in the pool. yes, there is a pool. also several guest cottages and mud-brick huts, a camping area, an unused house which will one day be a bed and breakfast, chickens, some trails, some pastures and some seriously huge trees.

my job while i'm here will be cleaning and cooking for guests, feeding the chickens, photographing the grounds for the website, painting window frames, etc. in exchange i get the room and board and access to the kaikoura coastal track, which i cannot wait to explore.


m.m.m.my corona

so i bought a car. this is something that is really common around here, buying a car, driving around the island(s) and then selling it for pretty much the same amount you payed for it. they even have car dealers built and operating on this premise. i picked this little beauty up off an irish couple at the backpacker car mart in christchurch. it's a manual transmission with a cd player, a bed in the back, curtains, a cooler, a propane camp stove, a camping chair, some pots and pans, mosquito window netting, some coffee and a copy of lonely planet new zealand. it has about 400,000 km on it and has been wof'ed or certified road safe. i paid $1,000 in cash and $28 to transfer the title. this is ridiculously easy to do. it takes about 5 minutes. the irish guy didn't even have to do or sign anything which he couldn't believe. i didn't even catch his name. i just paid him and he walked away, relieved that he'd sold his car, pissed that he'd had to drop the price in his rush to do so.
you don't even have to show your drivers license to get a car. for all they knew i couldn't even drive it. and well.... i almost can't. i learned how to drive a stick around christmas time. i can count on my hands the number of times i've done so now i've gone and bought one and set out to drive it - backwards down the opposite side of the road. but don't worry - even though you don't legally have to be insured to drive in nz - i got the insurance.

Jan 17, 2011


the best cup of coffee in the world

my favorite thing about going without is that it makes the having again better than ever before.


mt. somers day 3


woolshed creek hut


mt. somers track day 1

ze german and i decided to go backpacking on mt. somers this weekend. since gail winds were coming from the northeast we decided to do the south face first, which basically meant we did the whole hike backwards. turns out there's a reason you're advised to go the opposite way. much of our route was essentially rock-climbing.

rock-climbing with 40 lb packs on.

i could not have done this without lea who kept saying, "yes we can!" while i let out psyche scream after psyche scream. this hike was ranked "moderate" which i have come to believe means "moderate - if you are iron man". kiwis are insane. i have no concept of what the difficult terrain must be like after trying out the "moderate" track but it would probably make me cry. it might kill me.

anyway it was worth it. totally worth it. it was so beautiful. i have however devised a small list of things i will never forget:

- pack rations in lightweight backs like ziploc - not glass
- apples are heavy
- everything must fit inside the pack
- hut passes are totally worth it
- only bring what you will absolutely use
- always check the weather
- don't go backwards


this is camille.... la francaise, and this is lea.... ze german

going to christchurch in a 64 chrysler with a kiwi, a frenchie, a german and a plan.

Jan 13, 2011


a search for a tree

"them that looks finds." - saxon roberts, the valley of the moon, jack london

Jan 11, 2011


summit road

i think i found new zealand's answer to the wildcat.

Jan 10, 2011


ass backwards to lincoln

today i drove a new zealand stick shift around new zealand. devin wasn't kidding when he said once you learn how to drive one manual transmission you can drive them all.

Jan 9, 2011


hole diggin day

this is just a reminder:
you can take the girl out of the hills......
aaaand she'll just find new hills.

here is a good dirt diggin song.

Jan 8, 2011


little river


opposite pacific


wood haulin day


new home number 10

whare with glen

"glen once dj'd in christchurch. having lived there a lot of his life and playing music as he did he was very much a part of the scene; everyone knew glen. tired of it all he sold his city house and with that money bought a 4 acre bit of heaven in little river. although no doubt very much has been done to beautify the place much of it remains as he found it; no toilet, no shower, only the most basic plumbing, no water heater, no real additions to the charming open cottage... although he did stick a flagpole in the center to hold up a sagging roof.
what is most lovely about this place though has nothing to do with the house. there are even, layered, lawns on the hill above and below and beside; several thriving veggie gardens and fruit trees, pots everywhere bursting with herbs and flowers and in the woods at the edge of it all a perfect, magical creek.

it giggles down the hill. it is the happiest creek in the world, making it's emerald way through moss-covered boulders under trees full of singing birds. the bathtub (which is heated with fire) sits next to this creek beneath a discreet corrugated tin, shanty covering. tiny bridges run over it, connecting the trails that wind back and forth through the woods along side it and on the far side - up the steep hill of his untamed property. there are charming benches and seats in surprising corners everywhere near it, but i chose a broad rock to sit on it's bank and write this now........"

Jan 4, 2011


my movie is an epic

please enlarge this image and take a better look. i did not photoshop this in, nor did i make it up, nor is it an optical illusion caused by my window (i checked). i suppose it could be explained with physics and whatnot but without going into all that, what you are looking at is the shadow of my plane on the clouds with a rainbow around it.

i have arrived in tomorrow.

here in tomorrow it is a balmy 70 degrees - even in the rain, everyone is so nice it's silly, rainbows form around shadows, you can't seem to get a regular cup of coffee, and internet access is a little bit sad; ergo you may not hear from me for a while.

but i love you.


when in doubt

follow the stars.

Jan 2, 2011


trains, planes and automobiles.



hello 2011

filled with ridiculariousness already i see.


goodbye 2010

you were pretty epic.


the beautiful dinner