All over the place: Makarora, Bendigo, Carrick Range, The Snow Farm, Wanaka, and partying

Since my last posting way back in autumn much has been happening, not to mention some sort of profound spiritual sort of growth. I’m hesitant to use this much over-used, even abused word “spiritual”, but how else to explain a letting go of things that no longer serve, a lightness of spirit and changes in perception and understanding of the world and self!?

Life can at times take us “all over the place”, so lets go to a few I’ve seen with my camera of late:

Makarora…

Makarora is a favourite old haunt and instead of devoting every spare day of winter to nordic skiing this winter I’ve been going bush up there a few times. No phones, no emails, old friends and new etc. = bliss!

Looking up the Wilken across the Makarora river bed…
Wilken Valley

Helping raise a foundered diary cow for one of my SAR friends, but Soccer never made it 🙁 despite days of love, turning, feeding, warming, and care – she was so gentle with gorgeous knowing eyes…
Makarora farming problem

The local sheep were OK though…
Maka 2

Part of that spiritual journey…
Maka 3

One of many favourite back-drops…
Makarora

My audience while I did a spot of fishing [catching nothing ‘tho!]…
Maka 8

I love Makarora… I’ve spent many days there in the distant past using it as a base to tramp and climb from – especially an 80 day total tussle over a few years with Mt Hooker deep in South Westland. Now “Maka” appeals as it’s such a contrast to Wanaka and so close, and it’s like going back delightfully in time to another age, one fast vanishing…
Maka 5


Bendigo historic gold diggings…

Only 20 mins. drive from home, down towards Tarras means it’s a favourite haunt, but this year I decided to camp up there to catch some good light. So cold night number one for the autumn!

Looking across at my favourite Pisa Range under it’s first mantle of winter snow…
Bendigo 2

Probably the most photographed miners hut in New Zealand history…
Bendigo 1


Duffers Saddle between Cromwell and the Nevis Valley…

My second night out to catch the light and to escape the reality and electronic connectedness of Wanaka, and even myself. I felt “raw” over this weekend, so the solution is simple: go live briefly in a greater rawness!

My camping spot. Where else can you just stop in the middle of the road…
Carrick Range

Dawn breaks with a light and coldness that demanded attentiveness and much running about for composition of the Garvie Range…
The Garvies

The Remarkables…
The Remarkables

Many Spaniard plants making running about a thoughtful and prickly proposition…
Spaniard plants

The view further south into the remote Nevis Valley…
Nevis Valley

The view north along the Carrick Range…
Carrick Range

Lake Dunstan under an inversion cloud…
Lake Dunstan and trig


A “4th of July” Party:

Back in spring 2011 a new friend up the road invited me to an Italian style party, and apart from 6 hours of one course after another from noon onwards with wine the event changed the direction of my life… many things came out of it! So this more recent 4th July party was one not to miss.

We had to come dressed in a theme. Fortunately an old friend hires out operatic society clothes, so I was Woody out of Toy Story. I’m not sure where the twinkle in the eye came from, as it was not from wine…
Party 5

Genuine Rockies trapper’s clothing…
Party 2

Jen is a highly skilled singer recently from the US and also since my aforementioned Italian party, my new yoga teacher and now a close friend. It’s her skills that I seemed to be ready for in terms of another transformation encompassing personal growth, and realising how to breathe to calm our central nervous system and surrendering into an acceptance not just in a pose, but in life. I have learnt you can’t strive in yoga as the tension shortens and tightens muscle groups making it impossible reach a profound peace that is home to a timeless strength and awareness…
Party 4

The party also gave me the opportunity to indulge in a growing interest in portrait and people photography…
Party 3


Escaping Wanaka’s annual winter inversion cloud by going Nordic skiing at the nearby Snow Farm:

Dawn after a cold night…
Snow farm 1

The inversion way below the car-park…
Snow farm 2

Mt Aspiring…
Snow farm 4

My good Russian mate Alexei…
Snow farm 5

Descent into the gloom of the inversion…
Snow farm 6

 

Snow farm 7

 

Snow farm 8

 

Snow farm 9

 

Snow farm 3

So skiing and touring was the thing…
Snow farm 10

The head of the Meg all locked up in ice…
Snow farm river run 1

Skiing until you drop or in this case well into the dusk…
Snow farm 11


The thrill and adventure of night skiing:

Desperate for an adventure and to escape the gloom of the inversion cloud over Wanaka a couple of weeks ago [knowing the sun is above is cruel], I consulted the weather oracles and cloud was predicted high aloft. So off I went thinking that if I could be between the two layers as the sun dipped to sleep in the west I’d be in [photographer’s] heaven. The gamble payed off and this is how it played out:

My favourite tour is out to the northern boundary of the Snow Farm’s extensive area. This involves descending to the head of the Meg River source, climbing gently past Meadow Hut and then climb up more steeply to a saddle below the exposed Bob Lee Hut.

Approaching the saddle – often, so often I’ve turned back from here and occasionally been humbled by the power of the mountains and that although the trails engender the use of lightweight cross country ski gear and speed, it ‘aint always Disney Land…
Bob lee trip 1

From the saddle it’s always tempting to go to the hut which is rarely occupied, but like any mountain summit it’s not over ’till you’re back down! But on this amazing evening I was blest with a lightness of spirit that urged me to go on. I trust my mountain intuition born of many years of adventure, especially in winter, so I dialed up “go” and went for it [the hut being on the left skyline in this older photo]…
Bob lee last year

The hut…
Bob lee trip 6

As planned the sun and clouds obliged, and I stood there freezing but entranced as the sunset and the remoteness took me near to tears…
Bob lee trip 2

 

Bob lee trip 3

 

Bob lee trip 4

I guess if we’re destined at any given point in time to live in a temporal “present” that all spiritual experiences have to end if we’re to get home to the warmth of loved ones, and so as if to remind me, the last of the sun signalled an easterly wind to enter my soul. It was time to go down into the dark…
Bob lee trip 5

Alone with thoughts, ice under a thin layer of snow demanding care and balance, such a descent can be and was another flavour of a spiritual experience.

You know if you “stuff up” going solo you’re going to pay dearly, maybe even with one’s life. But a “being in the present moment” can become all encompassing. Time ceases to exist. We are quietly taken not only into a friendly darkness, but also into a profound and beautiful aloneness!

And somewhere in “the zone” I find I can still reflect and observe same!

…I was taken back to a similar, but not so light a trip last winter, when through caution I turned back from the saddle below harbouring thoughts of mystery as to why a relationship had simply ended just as that winter started.

But this winter it was still “ended”, and the mountains were still the same, yet we both knew a difference: that somehow in the intervening year for the first time in my life my heart has opened to love – it now seems to know that which can’t easily be articulated.

And does it even matter that being of the heart, that it stays there content to just shine out!?


Misc. events mostly Wanaka based:

Dougal was with me recently for a few days on holiday from Uni. in Dunedin. Here he is returning, getting on the bus in Wanaka…
Dougal

I’m still chasing light around Wanaka…
Wanaka sunset

We had an Aurora Australis mid week. I missed being in the best places but…
Aurora

My old truck Terrence Toyota goes off for a refurbish and a future new owner – Jen’s husband. It’s now back on the road and lots of people wave locally thinking it’s me…
Terrence

Last weekend I went up to West Wanaka breifly, to see the Matukituki River in flood…
West Wanaka 2

West Wanaka

And this weekend, well I’m just back from the peace and quiet of Makarora again, and I picked up half a ton of hot burning driftwood at Boundary Creek on the return…
Boundary Creek, Makarora


Nameste

About this Like Minds Blog Donald Lousley

Concepts on how New Zealand landscape photography and fine art can be used to stimulate our imaginations to make the world a better and more gentle place. With photos, and some words, we explore with nomadic tendencies and inherited wizardry, all that is New Zealand, and it did not all begin with Lord of the Rings! Cheers Donald Lousley donald@icommunicate.co.nz PS my work site iCommunicate and MacAssist:

Wanaka New Zealand based Web Developers, Photography, Mac Software Training, Mac Accessories eShop and Authorised Apple Resellers more >>

  2 comments for “All over the place: Makarora, Bendigo, Carrick Range, The Snow Farm, Wanaka, and partying

  1. Deirdre
    July 23, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Great photos again Donald.
    Love the old gold diggers homes – what hardship they must have endured – while today we sit in our warm homes with our heat pumps etc.
    Catch you early next month!!!
    Deirdre xxx

  2. July 26, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Kia ora Donald,
    Great to come by and see and read of what’s happening in your life. I get a wistful sense of homesickness e hoa! Been on the go so much have not had time to really reflect on too much. More and more I feel this warmth inside me that Aotearoa is the place I belong most. In any case kia ora for a few rays of sunshine. It is overwhelmingly hot and humid here and I understand NZ is in the grips of wet and cold. Oh well will be back before I know it. Gonna need a trip up into the Ruahine to recover. Take care e hoa.
    Robb

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