Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Southward Bound Roadie...

This past summer I joined the likes of Paul Current, Jason Jason Sheperd, Kevin England, Barnabus Young, and David Kwant for a trip down to Central Otago and Fiordland...the Marion Creek section of the Hollyford River was the first river we got on. Enjoy...

The shades of blue foreshadow blue emotions…not for, or even about the kayaking (or the sandlflies for that matter!) but rather towards the damage of thousands of dollars worth of multi-sport gear. It would all be worth it in the end.

Different shades of blue over Lake Wanaka foreshadow the sweet-as weather and days to come. (Good weather for kayaking balances a perfect blend of rain drops, followed by clear blue skies!)

After being stunned by the beauty of Lake Wanaka, we crested a ridge to find the eqaully gorgeous Lake Hawea resting underneath the evening shadows and cotton candy.

The next morning we entered Fiordland...

A unique place to say the least. As well as containing some of the most magestic mountins in NZ, Fiordland also boasts roadside whitewater! Roadside Class New Zealand? The group unloads at the get-in to the Marion Creek section of the Hollyford River.

Like a grandfather's fragile wrinkly fingers, the limbs of the native bush and trees hang over the river as if to radiate wisdom and positive spirits out through their fingertips.

Like many classic NZ rivers the Hollyford doesn't showcase any large single huckster drops, but instead provides the continuous, technical more "rapid-running" style of whitewater that pushes a paddler more in a holistic sense. Dave Kwant shimmer-shines a boof off the first ledge of the river.

A man who is guaranteed to take fewer strokes than you and still keep it more styley, Mr. JJ Sheperd, working through the top of a hover-o-matic S-turn kinda sort of rapid...ish...thing.

"I keep my cup raised up..." Kev England, keepin' it up when he needs it up most!

The addictiveness of kayaking is sometimes compared to a drug addict's addiction to drugs. While that might not present the healthiest image, it portrays the seriousness of the matter. Unlike drugs however, kayaking provides that "fix" to the addict in a much healthier manner. Here we have Kev England, who can't see past his next fix...his "own worst enemy." Check out Spencer Cooke's well-written words on this topic, of what he describes as his "problem."

Here we have PC dropping into the last rapid on the run before the portage. Take notes ya'll, because this outfit is likely to be Hee Haw Jones approved!

PC on the second half of the same rapid, in a real "Go Left and Die" scenerio. Unlike in the Northern Hemisphere, you do actually go right!!!

Post-river, before driving through Homer Tunnel, this "spwot" confirmed that Fiordland's scenery was unlike anything I've ever seen before! 20,000 years ago glaciers carved these steep valley walls, leaving behind some of the tallest waterfalls in world, as well as this snow-bridge, and a heard of big woolly mammoths...who still wore their coats, even though it was the middle of summertime!

Milford Sound in all her beauty. The clouds were alive on this day, so I'd recommend checking out my NZ "South Island" Video Journal for better visuals of the magic, as well as footage from the Hollyford River.

While in many aspects very different from the Sierras, Fiordland presents a similarly enchanting feel. John Muir would've loved it here..."I know that our bodies were made to thrive only in pure air, and the scenes in which pure air is found." This is a scene where pure air is found.

Stay tuned for more pure air thoughts and images from this southward bound roadie!

In the NEWS side of things...

Kev England runs Maruia Falls at really high water! No, actually that's not news, but I like the shot and it gives me a chance to announce the creation of my latest video on Rapid Transit Video...

Check out to watch Volume III of my New Zealand Video Journal..."Stayin' South." In this video you will be able to watch footage from that high-water day at Maruia, as well as much much more...its sure not to be a bore! But thanks to Reading Rainbow..."You don't have to take my word for it!"

Until next time...Kia Kaha!