Nearing the end

I’ve reached my ‘minimum’ 4 week stay here in Ohakune, and had planned to stay until November 6th, the end of ski season. My boss asked me to extend that until November 10th to help out during a busy week, and I’ll stay until then. The reason? A little movie production called ‘The Hobbit’ is coming to town…

In addition to that neato bit coming up, November should be a very busy and exciting month. If you’ve been getting bored by the lack of adventure activities that I’ve done in October…that will change in November! I think I’ll be camping and hostelling it for the month, and hope to finish off several areas – namely Rotorua, Taupo, Hamilton and Coromandel. There are some pretty big things I’ve got set up in those cities – white water rafting, sailing, surfing, hiking, going to the dentist, jet-boating, high-ropes…and quite a bit more that you’ll have to wait to see. ;)

Spent my Halloween today working during the morning, and snowboarding in the afternoon. The mountain probably only has about 1/3 the runs left at this point, mostly in the higher parts. Lots of the snow is disappearing quickly now! I still would like to get up once more before the mountain is closed, but that is very much weather dependent. I’ve also got a couple of hikes that I’d like to do, and time is getting short for the good weather to show up!

Happy Halloween to everyone back home!

14 hours a day

The weekend was a rather uninteresting one. The owners of the motel were away Friday-Sunday so I was looking after the place by myself. So that meant long work days 14 hours (730am-930pm) to be exact! Granted, work was far from continuous, but it also meant I had to be here the entire time. So no hiking or snowboarding for me this weekend. Working during your birthday (Saturday) isn’t the most exciting way to spend it, but it’s just another day for me now that I’m 28. Not an overly exciting or special year on number alone (29 is my champagne birthday…but where shall I be spending it?), but hopefully I can make it an amazing one based on experience. :D

More fun with Viaducts

Bored by viaducts? TOO BAD! I wanted to finish off the Old Coach Road, so I walked it starting from the other end and went to the halfway mark, roughly. That way I will have seen everything the trail has to offer, just split over 2 days. This one had some more viaducts for me to enjoy. They are neat from an engineering perspective, okay? Maybe I should become a Civil Engineer, that was my 2nd choice for engineering careers way back when I had the option of what field to go into. Chemical, Civil and Materials engineering were my top 3. I’m pretty sure I had Electrical dead last. One reason was because Electrical had 3 full years of Calculus instead of 2. Nooooooooo thank you!

Anyways, back to the joys of hiking. :) The day still wasn’t overly pleasant but that didn’t deter me. My time in the region is winding down and I want to make sure to hit the trails I want before I go!

No rain this morning meant the trail wasn’t a muddy mess this time, allowing me to make better time than yesterday. I still made lots of stops for pictures, like here, with a small waterfall in the background.

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Bad idea

Picking up groceries, seeing yogurt covered raisins, thinking ‘oooooooooooh those look tasty! And healthier than chocolate covered ones!’, buying ~350grams of them…and proceeding to eat them all within 24 hours. I know these exist in Canada too, I simply had never sampled them. I always stuck with the chocolate covered variety, especially chocolate covered almonds.

Tasty indeed. But also evil and make me feel kind of ill when I eat too much.

These were the last remnants of that large bag. They were gone within 5 minutes of the photo. This is what happens when it pours rain outside. I eat tasty treats. Well, it is almost Halloween after all, even if this isn’t a day many Kiwis partake in. Very few advertisements, no bombardment of buying options in stores, and I’m betting nobody around here is dressing up on the 31st. Honestly, it’s a little refreshing given the rampant commercialization that goes on now in Canada. I really dislike that it pretty much goes from Halloween decorations filling stores from the end of September and then switching over to Christmas at the start of November. Still, talking to Kiwis, who see the day as a silly North American thing, I do think they are missing out on some of the fun of the day. Not so much as an adult (I’m much more ambivalent towards it now a days, though costume parties can be fun), but as a kid it’s fantastic fun. It gets you out of the house, meeting people, encourages creativity with costumes, and all round is a holiday that I have fond memories of as a kid. Even when it was below zero when trick or treating…brr!

To the Viaduct!

At one end of Ohakune is the Old Coach Road. This was a road built in the early 1900s to facilitate transit, especially via horse. The road was made using cobblestone and crossed in front of Mt. Ruapehu.

The Old Coach Road has a pretty amusing history – it was completed in 1906…and pretty much made obsolete in 1908 when the railway was finished nearby. Freight was no longer taken via horse through the area, it all moved with trains. The nice thing is, to build the railroad through this area, a large viaduct was required. That was my goal for the hike, the Hapuawhenua Viaduct, a major engineering feat in 1908. The entire Old Coach Road hike is about 5 hours, one way. I just did the viaduct and back, about a 3 hour round trip.

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Fantastic!

After over 3 weeks of waiting, FINALLY a truly fantastic day arrived here in Ohakune.

By the time I got to the top of the lifts, the last remaining clouds had disappeared and nothing but blue skies and sunshine remained. Very little wind made this a perfect snowboarding day. The owner of the motel I’m working at, Donald, came up with me to offer some pointers for the first little bit of the day before going off to the advanced stuff. His advice was very good – lots of improvement today!

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Champions!

After 24 long years, New Zealand is once again Rugby World Champions! It was an extremely close game, with the All Blacks beating France 8-7, hanging on for the last 10 minutes with a stout defense. New Zealand is in a state of euphoria, and likely will be for weeks and months. Parades are planned all around the country over the coming week, I’m thinking not much work will be done at businesses around the country. Today (Monday) is a day off at least, everyone will need it to recover from the all-night celebrations last night!

Perks of the job

Probably my favourite thing about my current job is when I first get into a room to clean it, I do a quick walk around and check for left behind items. They are set aside for a couple days in the event that the person comes back to claim them, but most time they are left for good so the motel owners/me get to keep them. So far, I have found:

  • Money (10 and 20 cent pieces, nothing special).
  • Freezer bricks / ice bricks – probably the most commonly left thing. Easily forgotten once you put them in the fridge. I’ve found about a dozen so far! I’ve kept the two largest for myself, useful things if I ever get a cooler
  • Feminine Hygiene products
  • Butter/Margarine (probably don’t need to buy any for the next 9 months)
  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Canned fruit
  • Bread
  • Movie pass
  • And my favourite…ice cream bars! I’ve found these twice now, and they are always a treat. YUM!