Sling-life, homeownership, Fiji, and all the months in ‘seventeen

November 10, 2017

So, this year is flying.

Blogging has obviously fallen far down my list of things to do. I feel, or hope, this is a reflection of a busy and fulfilling life here in New Zealand. I do miss writing about our adventures though. So…

At the end of 2016 we were looking to buy a house here in Christchurch. We went to one auction and sort of got our hearts broken. Things turned out for the best, as they usually do, when the perfect house for us came on the market in December. Located on the same street we were already living on, the one where all the mountain bike tracks in town funnel on to, at the quiet end of the street, tucked in the valley. We put an offer in and it was accepted, but we couldn’t move in until January.

In the meantime we had friends visit, and we took them on the MTB tour of the south island. Sometimes I think we should run a MTB tour company. We’re pretty good at it these days, and enjoy it more than work!

Anyhow, there’s no way I can sum up a year’s worth of adventures in one post (nor would you want to read it). So I’ve decided to post snapshots from each month. Not necessarily the BEST or most beautiful moments – though some are definitely included. But just snapshots of our life for the last year…


Beautiful Mt. Cook

Climbing to the top of Craigieburn

Friends from back home visit… we do our best to show them the best.


We move in to our home.


In 2016, our community spent countless hours building bike tracks for the Christchurch Adventure Park – a chairlift access, year round mountain bike park. We dug many times on Wednesdays after work. The park is a culmination of many things: mountain biking, zip lines, beers in the sun. For some of our friends it was their actual dream, realized and shaped into reality over several years. It opened in December and we got to use it for 8 weeks.

In February, we watched our park burn to the ground.

Getting away from it all in Reefton. Something about moss, lichen, and steep hill-climbs puts life back into perspective.


We added two new assets to the homestead this month. First, the Pajero, our 4WD adventure vehicle.

And second, our three chickens, lovers of cheese: Gouda, Halloumi, & Brie.


Easter adventures put us back in Alexandra, land of the most awesome rock riding around.

After hanging with friends, we took off for the west coast… and stopped at the Blue Pools for the first time since our Honeymoon holiday in 2012.

Scott worked quickly to get the Pajero adventure-ready. It now sleeps 2 on a full-sized bed in the back, has a solar shower, and storage for a cook-stove, chairs, hiking gear, & more.

Wild walks: Robers Point Track at Franz Josef. Epic.

Scott taking it all in from the side of a mountain, literally.

Morning musings from Lake Matheson. While we mused, Mount Cook reflected. (Im so punny!)


The first eggs…

The great floor renovation begins at home. Vinyl and carpet come out of the kitchen, living room, & lounge. Thousands of staples are pulled out by hand.


We have an ill-fated trip to Fiji. It rains 8/10 days. We learn the difference between “travel” and “vacation”.

We re-organize our trip to Fiji based on weather patterns and the inability to take in more “culture”. This photo is from our last day, giving an utterly false perspective of the trip. Its also my birthday on this day.

We come home from Fiji to the floors being finished. It feels like my birthday after all!


Among other winter adventures, we walk the first leg of the St. James walkway. How this isn’t a great walk, I don’t know. Its just… stunning.

My perspective of one of the many bridges on the St James.


We went to the bottom of the south island in the middle of winter… because, why not? Road riding in Dunedin was curbed by black ice. So we road to the beach. And drank beer.

Winter landscapes on the way home from Dunedin.

In addition to this beautiful sunset, we saw 22 yellow-eyed penguins, many pairing off with mates for the season.

With snow levels out of control and mountain bike trails made of slippy mud, we took to our MTBs to ride up the road, to this GoT-worth ice throne just outside of Little River, NZ.

We topped off August by winning free tickets and accommodation to Beervana in Wellington. We had an amazing time, and upped our beer-nerd level by several notches. My favorite label of all time:


We kicked off spring with a snowy trip to a race in Alexandra called Linger & Die. There we both picked up influenza, and were out for several weeks.

I accomplished a big goal this month. I put on a women’s mountain biking clinic for 64 ladies wanting to learn better techniques for descending on their bikes. I had help from 3 other women, plus Scott & Dave. It was a success and I am humbled by the turnout.

“The fish was this big”… trying to explain how to have good position on the bike gives me serious concentration-face.

While I spent the month planning this clinic, Scott spent the month building a new trail in Christchurch. Beginning in the burned section from the Feb fire; the “Gnarly Nun” is now the most popular track in town. He and I on a celebratory lap:

On the 3rd week in September we took off for the States. After seeing family for a week and going to his brother’s wedding, we planned to have a 2-week riding trip around northern CA. On his first mountain bike ride of the trip, Scott did this:

(hint: #3, 4, & 5 are not quite right)

Sept 30: a family wedding in Santa Cruz, CA, and Scott living “boot-life”. Not pictured: crutches behind the tree.


The only riding on our trip was done by me, like this loop around some beautiful Nevada trails by Lake Tahoe.

Back in NZ, I get a new bike and ONE ride on it before I have surgery mid-October for a shoulder injury I sustained last year biking in Queenstown. Sling-life ensues.

On the last weekend in October, along with my wonderful co-founder Brooke, I put on a women’s only mountain bike race here in Christchurch. We dreamed it, we planned it. For weeks we talked permits, prizes, pre-rides, volunteers, timing, medics, tape and transponders, corners and climbs, beers and bikes…

It is only the second women’s enduro in NZ. We had 95 ladies show up to race, and I am incredibly proud of what we accomplished. Women riding bikes is important to me. Seeing them, in helmets and pads, with smiles and stoke… its a dream.

Registration lady in the sling:


The veggie garden is going hard…

Its just me and the “backyard terrorists”…

I am off work and in the sling for the rest of the month, and start physical therapy in December. Scott’s in a moon boot for another few weeks, but should be riding like normal by Christmas. With this sport comes injury, sometimes at the worst possible time. We should both be back in action in early 2018, and we’re excited to see what comes our way.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Lacey Kathleen November 11, 2017 at 7:06 am

    It’s so good to read your blog and to hear about your adventures and misadventures!

  • Reply Bridget Creaven November 13, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Wow, wonderful photos telling a story of life’s with ups and downs in a paradise – Kristen, thanks for sharing your story

    • Reply November 13, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Thank you – Im glad you enjoyed!

    • Reply November 30, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Thank you!

  • Reply Same Day Taj Mahal Tour by car November 21, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Living with passion and profession is the most awesome life that one can have. You have shared really very nice post and mind blowing photographs. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • Reply Jasmin Powell November 30, 2017 at 3:55 am

    Beautiful photos and such a wonderful read!! I can’t wait to read the next chapter. I bet it is going to be fantastic!!! Carpe diem !!!

    • Reply November 30, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Thank you!

  • Reply Judith Renworth November 30, 2017 at 7:48 am

    This is exactly how I envisioned your life when you were my little Camp Fire Gal. You were always the one to keep the others focused. You always tried to do your best no matter what it was we were doing. Looking at your photos just makes my heart smile. The very beat to you and Scott for 2018!! Merry Christmas and have an amazing new year.

    • Reply November 30, 2017 at 7:59 am

      Thank you for such a lovely reflection. Merry Christmas and happy 2018 to you as well. xx

  • Reply Marla Simonson November 30, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    As friends of your parents, I see why they are so proud of you and your husband. Your blog is an early Christmas present! Have a wonderful New Year!

  • Come on, you must want to tell me something!