Recent Photos Including The Best Day Ever

February 7, 2014

Yeah, I know. Its been almost a month again. It won’t happen again. (It might happen again.) Anyways, how about a bike-y catch up?

Mainly, between work, we’ve been spending a lot of time in Queenstown. We were there over the holidays with my parents and there again with a visiting friend. Its starting to feel a little bit like home.

Scott enjoying some secret Qtown trails over the holidays.

All this time spent in Queenstown has meant a lot of time (and, er…, money) spend riding downhill bikes. Qtown has a gondola which bikers are allowed to ride for half a day or whole day use. The trails are built for downhill mountain biking, meaning they are constructed by mountain bikers. There are lots of jumps and drops and features, which makes it really fun and fairly unique. For those of you non-bikers out there, its similar to the summer bike parks created at resorts like Whistler and North Star. When I tell most people about it, they just say “you guys are crazy.”

Queenstown itself also has an awesome vibe that we really enjoy. Although there’s more tourists than residents (probably 5:1, at least), there is still a communal feeling that isn’t too manufactured. Spending so much time there meant establishing our favorite spots, with the clear winner being the Atlas Beer Cafe. Atlas is basically the hangout of every mountain biker and self respecting beer drinker. I get nostalgic just thinking about it….
The biggest treat however, probably wasn’t even all that time drinking beer or even the gondola. Our visiting friend recently got his pilot’s license, and he was keen to go for a fly! We sure had the right friend come and visit. So we got a practically private chartered tour around the mountains and glaciers neighboring Queenstown!
Queenstown arial view
Braided river
Zipping between glaciers!
So, usually when you get to go fly around New Zealand in a Cessna at 8am, that is the best your day is going to get. But on this particular day, we went straight from the airport to the Shotover River, and jumped on a jet boat. Ohmygosh what fun! I’m sort of a thill seeker- but more in the do it myself on a bike kind of way, not the jump out of an airplane way. With jet boating, you are in no way “controlling” the thrill, so I was a bit skeptical. But our buddy was pretty keen to go, and my curiosity got the best of me. It’s expensive, but if you’ve got a little extra cash to spend on holiday- definitely do it! It’s a blast! We went through the Shotover Jetboat people and it was incredible. They go so fast, get so close to the canyon walls, and can rip through water only a few inches deep!
The Shotover River- a shot of the canyon we ripped through!

But wait, our day of awesomeness wasn’t over yet! By 1pm we had already gone flying and jet boating. Just to ensure all the adrenaline possible was spent up, we got half day downhill passes on the gondola and rode bikes from 2-6pm. And the weather was magic!

Shot of Scott and Rusty (lower right) on a new trail. Thats the lake above- not the sky!
Its hard to pay attention to trails with a view like that one!
Hubby catching some air

Second to my wedding day, this was definitely a contender for the Best Day Ever!

But don’t you worry, only a mere 4 days later, the guys were out to get me again with not your average bike ride. This time we were in the mountains inland of Christchurch, in hunt of scree.

Scree is the gravel-like rock that is found on a slope (usually mountain side) and is formed by the general decomposition of rock faces and cliffs. In Craigieburn, the tops of the mountains (above treelike) are pretty much all scree.

Why would we look for scree? They can’t possibly build trails on scree. It erodes too quickly and changes with wind, snow, rain, etc. It can’t possibly have any traction, as it is basically just large gravel on a steep embankment. So why would we look for scree?

To ride straight down it, of course.

Hike-a-bike from tree-line to the top of the scree slope.
We finally got there. (Those are more scree slopes in the distance.)

So I don’t feel like there’s any way I can convey the steepness of this scree slope. When Scott told me that I could do it and I would be just fine, I figured it must not be that steep. Gawwwwwd, I was wrong. I stood at the top in fear. Wishing for whiskey. Or a time machine. But I was told I would be fine- so I would be, right? (I should make a blog spin off called All the times my husband tried to kill me.)

My instructions were as follows: Get going, point straight, don’t touch the brakes. You’ll be right.


So I definitely hit the brakes way too much, which I admit is the reason for all of my slow motion crashes. Being terrified takes practice, people. But I did it (mostly) and Scott got my picture to prove it. Of course, it doesn’t look half as steep here as it felt. Thats how it always goes.

Another photo of me in front, Scott behind, for perspective:

So that’s what we’ve been up to lately. We now have a 2 week break between guests (one unexpectedly had to cancel her trip). Scott is up in Nelson at the Dodzy Memorial Enduro. This race sold out all of it’s 300 entries in a crazy 4 minutes! So needless to say he is extremely excited. I was unfortunate and did not make it under the wire. I have a big road ride planned for tomorrow though, weather permitting… and hell, maybe I’ll even find time to post again!

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