Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Great Outdoors: "It's Torcha!"

When you plan your holidays do you opt for 1. Crumbly Buildings and People Watching or  2. The Great Outdoors? I am a fan of the former; art galleries, ye old shoppes and cobbly streets for me. So how on earth did I find myself doing the three day tramp (hike) around  Lake Waikaremoana in New Zealand? Glorious ascends, majestic views galore. But what summed it up for me was when two of our party bumped into each other at midnight at the outside loos -  keeping an eye out for rats and mystery squishy stuff underfoot - and one of them cried: "When does the torchure end?!"

Lake Waikaremoana is very noice

Day One: Is it fun yet?

Smiling

Not smiling

First night's hut. We found a trapped rat outside in the morning. 
Tramping brings out the best in you (Longdrop Dunnies silhouetted in background)

All you could ever want at your bedside
Oh hello! Us in the spacious bunkroom

Playing cards of an eve


Sharon, you are really spoiling us with this burnt porridge 
Gosh, Big Bens again, lovely

Why do I keep doing this Great Outdoor nonsense? Because otherwise I would lose my Kiwi passport (true fact). It's only this year, at age 51, I've admitted to myself: I hate camping, I hate staying in huts, I hate cooking on those tiny burners and the constant packing and unpacking. But keep that confession under your skirt. Kiwis must love to tramp.

Off we set: me, Kevin, sister Sharon, her husband Adam, sister Pietra, childhood friend Kerry and her partner Reece, and Jackson and his cousin Finn, both 14. The rest of the kids had refused to come.

We left comfy beds, a fridge full of hams and pies - and headed out to three days of eating white gop. And sleeping next to strangers who snored.

Day One was five hours tramp upwards through mud to a hut with warning signs: rats everywhere, inside and out.

Keen trampers are an efficient, happy bunch. We watched in awe as they put on their "hut shoes" after which they unpacked their tiny sporks and fifes, unzipped their zippy things and clicked their clicky things. Then cook, eat and scrub up with lots of good natured joshing about each other's gadgets.

"Why is that family so happy?" I grumbled after dinner, pointing over to three families who were glowing with card playing and homemade fruitcake. "Oh they have wine" I replied to myself bitterly, much in the way of Colleen, Jack's Mum in 30 Rock who is always trying to decimate seemingly contented families.

Meanwhile our family operates on "She'll be right, mate." There was the heavy unsuitable food - messy honey sandwiches for lunch, messy porridge for breakfast...and let's just say the clean-up and head-off was basically shoving half-clean dishes into a black garbage bag and...heading off.

Of course we hadn't brought "hut shoes" so there were also the barefoot treks to the Longdrop Dunny (again, apologies for the technical terms here, stay with me) where a phantasmagoria of treats awaited.

Bloody hell, I said on Day Three as I crawled into the car to head home, my stomach swollen to the size of a football from eating low IQ carbs for three days: "That was torcha, never doing that again." Until next time.

Is there anything you do over and over again to be patriotic?




72 comments:

  1. I eat vegemite on toast until jar runs out every few months plus I love a slice of beet root to discolor my sandwiches for my Aussie side. For my Korean side I just add Tabasco to a lot of things. I only stopped putting it on my curry a couple of years ago. But I refuse to learn the rules to cricket and I won't go to karaoke bars.

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    1. And thank you for that lovely leather posh puppy tag! Just realised I must have walked by your house loads on ways to place including the kids' nursery Ravenstone House. Ditto on the last line. BTW, did you see that funny Youtube video about cricket. two for twofor twofor two, we were repeating it all http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEH4ahCCrJo

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    2. Small world! Will check out the video bc nothing puts me to sleep more than cricket scores!

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  2. Well I've agreed to do a 3 day canoe/portage/camping trip in August and it's going to be Torcha! I like my own loo, giant bathtub and if I can't be at home then 5* hotel please. Also I won't be seen without makeup and a proper frock. But I'm Canadian so I'm supposed to like portage camping. Also we're going with a group of tough nut environmental law leaders so I have to pretend not to be wimpy.
    Not sure how I'm going to pull it off.

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    1. Dani - say you've been called to NB and I'll take care of you! I will never camp again!

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  3. Shooping opportunity! albeit at REI.... which fails that thrill test for me

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  4. I refuse to go to major sports events now unless I'm in a corporate box. The football game where we were in standing seats (i.e., there were no seats), it was raining and about 9 C was the final straw. My husband and his friends all stood there eating disgusting food poisoning style meat pies saying how it was great to see footy in such an old school style way. Took me a week to defrost.
    You are braver than I with the camping. Having endured renovations that seemingly take forever, I refuse to go camping. It's too much like living in the renovations again - so is no holiday. Rodents included! xx

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    1. I always get next to the keeny soccer Mum who does not want to chat and gossip, just observe.

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  5. The only hiking trip I would contemplate is in the Alps, where you hike from one luxury hotel to another and someone brings your bags ahead of you.

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    1. Or around Lake Como popping into Georges for some sammies.

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  6. I will never camp again. For no one. Ever again. I am in awe of you Jody!

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  7. Glamping, girls, after 40 we go glamping! That way, someone carries our bags, cooks our food and chills the tonic the exact temperature that the gin deserves.
    Kim

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  8. Glamping, girls. After 40 we go glamping, whatever our nationality. That way, someone carries our bags, cooks delicious food and chills the tonic to the exact temperature the gin deserves!

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  9. Another kiwi who shudders at the idea of overnight tramping LOL. I need at least 3 stars now!!

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  10. Wow quite the 3 day trip
    I'd rather board a cruise trip
    All that nature on my shoe
    Just would not do lol

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  11. oh god! such torcha! particularly the rodents (and I'll include large bugs).

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    1. I know. I had to turn away as we walked past the captured on. One of the trampers put out a trap the night before...so clad I didn't wander off to the long drops the wrong way!

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    2. My sister was telling me about a story of a weta recently landing on her in the night. She was woken up by a pinching (um, ya ...). She flicks it, but unto her husband's head. He brushes it off, and it lands in his shoe.

      True story here!

      He gets up as usual. Dresses. Off to work. Only an hour later (yes it took him an hour!) he feels a pinching in his shoe. Takes it off, and notices a live weta ... as you know ... not small bugs!

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  12. I'm Australian. I eat Tim Tams. Because I am patriotic.

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    Replies
    1. Same with me and Pineapple LUmps. Flying the flag.

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  13. I'm so impressed. I could never be a Kiwi. While I love the outdoors and hiking, I hate camping. I am happy to do a long hike and spend the entire day exploring but after sundown I expect a hot shower, a good bottle of wine, and a dinner worthy of the calories expended. Oh, and a bed!

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  14. Yes, you know when you're onto a good thing when You've eaten all the uphill calories for that day.

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  15. Jody, You are a trooper! I'm with you a fan of the crumbly buildings and such. Having all men in the family, I am submitted to this adventure stuff at least a few times a year.

    Funny our friend Justin and his wife just did the same hike in December and sent us photos. It does look amazingly beautiful! Those huts are pretty interesting. It's cool the NZ government provides them, and encourages hiking adventures. So nice.

    xx Kim

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  16. At least you didn't have to lug tents with you - and the views look amazing. But I'll bet when it got dark at night, it was really, really dark. So no thanks! Most patriotic thing I do is wear Red, White, & Blue on 4th of July.

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    1. Yes I can't imagine putting up a tent every night. Mind you if we had a system instead of the shove into black garbage bag, that might be easier

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  17. My goodness Jody is that you high up there under that tin roof?? must have felt very enclosed...good on'yer. As for being patriotic...mmmm....although I do keep quiet when royalists bang on about how wonderful various members of that family are and hang around waiting for babies to be born....

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  18. My back can't take camping any more. My excuse and I'm sticking to it. I don't do anything torturous to be patriotic, cos it's not amusing, and at my age I've done enough unamusing things to last me a lifetime ta! :)

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    1. Invoking the bad back clause works for most things...

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  19. As an Australian its tinned beetroot otherwise it is not a proper salad sandwich nor a burger.
    Thank you for the reminder about self catering, public hut camping - a friend invited me to join them on a Heaphy Track tramp. I said no and you have reminded me why I said no (all those cheerful campers and my groaning gut).

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    1. In NZ even Mickey D's has beetroot in their burgers is that the same in Australia? I love beetroot - or beet as they say in the US - also people are astounded at the downunder use of pineapple in everything

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  20. Well done doll. I would need a holiday to recover from this one as this is not a holiday, haha. This is work. I used to go camp a lot growing up and I felt happier going to school, Hahaha!! Although, I did like campfires and ghost stories and the views, but never the bugs, cold, the wet shoes, other campers complaining or wanting to stop every 5 seconds. And they usually band us from having any kind of sweets, so I had to smuggle it in like some kind of dealer & pass it out to everyone behind the scenes, haha! I do like a hike, but never camping. Bless your face in some of these pictures...like your asking to be rescued with your eyes.Love the first picture though, if I could have just been left there, I would have been fine!! Have a wonderful weekend doll xx

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  21. I'm impressed by your hiking ability, especially for someone who isn't into backpacking!

    Given that I just spent the better part of last month camping in the California desert, I think you can guess what kind of traveller I am.

    I saw some (very grumpy) Kiwis at LAX last week and you have the prettiest passport covers.

    As for what I do to keep my passport - I talk hockey when called upon to do so.

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    1. Oh now I will have to look at the passport covers.

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  22. Memories. You are making memories and with torture, hunger, sleepless nights comes bonding and yes laughter later in the year. We live for adventure here but like Kim we glamp now. Last time I "camped" I threw my ass out the tent to pee and was hissed at by a family of coons...must have potty.

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    1. It is memories and of course these kinds of experiences are always the most memorable. We were laughing about the trip later and one friend said: "This is the best part of the trip."

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    2. BB - plus would not care to engage my nethers with a family of racoons!!!

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  23. Oh my gosh this looks like my dream trip. New Zealand is most definitely on my bucket list :)

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  24. I'm not a camper either but I did tramp around Spain's Camino se Santiago this summer for 30 days. What stunning views you saw but I could do without the rats and squishy things!

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    1. Oh Gina, must get your take on that. My sister has done that many times too and we are dying to do it this summer (after me just complaining about hiking and basic accoms!!!). Do you think we could just do two weeks, my sister reckons you need to do the whole four week thing. What time of year did you go? There was a (very bad) movie called The Way - did you see that?

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  25. I LOVE YOUR LIFE!
    I had to camp in ITALY every summer when the boys were small for 6 weeks!!In a TENT and an outdoor kitchen!NO VACATION for me with the sand in the tent and carrying pots and dishes to wash basins!

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    1. I remember camping in a boiling South of France for a week and it was so hard to get them to take their afternoon naps and the mama and the bambinos were grumpy by day end. Can't imagine doing six weeks!

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  26. Does hockey count as patriotic? I'm definitely doing my duty when I go to one of those things, it's like sitting in a refrigerator with a bunch of drunk people and the girl next to us had super long fake nails and almost poked our eyes out during the game. I hate to admit it but I'd probably be with your kids (the ones who didn't go) on the camping part. But I love that you do it anyway!
    xo Mary Jo

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    1. Sounds more dangerous than sleeping w/ rats!

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  27. I refuse to do things over and over again; it makes me bored and claustrophobic. And ooh, no - camping in the cold and all that. Not me.

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  28. Rats???? Patriotism is very over rated I think....... 30 Rock on the otherhand is brilliant!!

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  29. I couldn't ever. If I ever go camping again, hoping I'm in an RV to get there and sleeping in it. Which isn't really camping, but that's how I'd do it ;)

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    1. We don't own one & I don't think I'd ever buy one. Rent all the way!

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  30. I love the great outdoors but... sleeping in a tent and sharing toilets facilities with the wildlife? I'm happy to do a hike. I just want a 5 star B&B at the end of it.

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    1. That nice cuppa at day's end (sans blobs left over from the porridge that morning) at a Band B sounds good to me

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  31. Picnics in the cold. Ooh, we're British, the sun has peeped out for five nanoseconds, WE MUST EAT OUTSIDE SITTING ON A SCRATCHY BLANKET EATING FOOD WE WOULDN'T CHOOSE TO EAT IN ANY OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES WHILE REMAINING CHEERFUL AND IGNORING OUR GOOSEBUMPS AND THE DAMP SEEPING THROUGH THE SCRATCHY BLANKET.

    Or maybe I just haven't learnt how to shop for a picnic yet?

    I also hike - occasionally, and only from somewhere I can sleep in a real bed with hot showers at the beginning and end - but when I am not prevented from getting out of the house by my innate laziness I actually love it. Although I'm still working on the right picnic to pack ...

    New Zealand is so beautiful.

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    1. Philippa, yes I have very fond memories of me and Kevin BK (Before Kids) sitting on damp sand in Devon trying to crack crab with our fingers with a gale force winds whipping around us and thinking: "Oh lovely"

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  32. Here in Canada, camping and canoeing are so very on. Now that I'm pushing 70 and have a few health problems, I'll leave that to the younger folks. But I did it in my time, when I was a youngster like you.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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    1. I'm a youngster? Oh you're welcome here anytime!

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  33. Well, you made me think. The list of things I do outdoors has gotten shorter and shorter. I might think about changing that in 2014.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Outdoors includes walks in Central Park...doesn't it?

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  34. Oh this did make me chuckle. Am just reading Bill Bryson's book about him walking the Appalachian Trail thinking, I couldn't do that for days on end. Not sure I could do your tramp either - I like a comfy bed and waiter service at the end of my walkies.

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  35. its the sort of thing that sounds like torcha to read about but was probably bloody good fun at the time!

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  36. Though I have decent long legs for my size I could not keep up (not even close to) tramping with the basketball team Sierra Club members on way to camping in the great outdoors. Shopping at REI before the wilderness experience failed the thrill test, I'm with you on that.

    We didn't have rats, at least not that I was aware, but it was pure Torcha. We did not have a bunkhouse or the longdrop, it was the great outdoors. I'm with Wendy, never again!

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  37. Shhh.... BC'ers are supposed to like the great outdoors too! Except here you can stumble upon bears and other wildlife, not rats.

    If I don't have my shower in the morning in the comfort of a nice, hot bathroom, then you had better stay out of my way. LOL

    I do like day trips and hikes a lot though, but I know myself better than to EVER go camping.

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  38. OMG girl-you are brave!! I love your adventures and it's fair to say you are over it (until next time). I don't camp anymore. More of an all-inclusive beachy focus right now but I've done my time. By the way, thought of you on my first colonoscopy recently. You gave me courage! Couldn't help but post on it out tomorrow. Glad you are back to luxury again after all that roughin it!
    xx, Heather

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    1. All-inclusive Beach Focus works every time!

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    2. Oh fond memories of my colostomy... hope you didn't have to ride in the gunga van though...

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  39. So lovely to read about that and know I need never do anything like that again. Ever. But hats off to you.
    Long drop dunny I never realised that that is what Gran Williams had and the reason I got chronic constipation whenever I stayed with her.

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    1. Oh my goodness, that was why my stomach blew up to size of football!

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  40. I admire you for heading out on this adventire. I love reading about all of the things you do!!

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  41. Oh god, that does sound like torcha.

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  42. That first photo is stunning. I admire you. I don't think I could do it.

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