Monday, April 28, 2014

Scouting across the Nationalities

Monday, April 28, 2014
oldbearnews editor
   There is this joke about an english/scottish/welshman entering the bar and the barman says . . . . . .  I am sure you have heard it before.

    Well - there is a new variant of this joke. It goes like this:
A very unlikely and as different looking as can be quartet of an Italian, Kiwi, English and Austrian bloke go for a hunt when a 10 year old kiddo asks --  if we are brothers?!   Quick witted reply  - yeah our Dad got around;  He traveled a lot . . . . . . .    :)  

   It is true - Lord Baden Powell did travel a lot - mainly through South Africa and going back to Old blighty from time to time. He even came to Australia and New Zealand at some time. So what were these 4 nationalities doing - well . . . . .

   We have an annual Westcoast Scouting camp - some 300km plus across the main divide and doing a variety of activities - this year it will be Greenstone (jade) carving.  As well as that, they get taken upriver by a local native who will tell them the story of Aotearoa and the Jade and the Mana that comes with carving this particular stone and  I F  they are get lucky may even find a small boulder and (if they are able to)  carry that back to the carver and then there cut into suitable pieces and then - of course carve a whale tail or Romiata / Teardrop or Koru or  . . . . . . . whatever

   Regular readers will remember last years (and the year's before that) trip to Barrytown for Knife making. To make these trips  a reality for the youth we need to go over some weeks beforehand and firm up a suitable place to bunk down, check out the activity and a whole lot of other stuff.  The cynic might well say - it is just an excuse for leaders to go over and have a cruiser /boozy/relaxing weekend away from the family/work and other stressful parts of their life - and you might well be correct.  It is a hard life being Scout leader - the sacrifices we make . . . . . .
Yet there is more to this. Apart form the relaxing and catching up and male bonding there is a informal training going on as well as sharing our experiences.

So it was a leisurely 7 am start. Met and collected the other blokes and set of for a life time trip of adventure. Here at 11 am at Arthur's Pass - the sun not yet reaching the valley floor. It was cold too. At least we had sunshine - no rain.  Perfect excuse for a hot cuppa of - Coffee.  I had a rather strong Macciata, whatever that was - and as I said earlier - rather strong.

From there it was forward to Hokitika - where we found the hall and dumped our gear and made plans - for lunch!  (priorities!!!) Now if you are travelling over there with Brush there is  absolutely  N O   choice but to go to the "Cafe' De Paris" and yes it was superb. Then on to the Carver and his side kick checking for prices and discussing logistics.  That done, we had some spare time so headed off towards the Hokitika Gorge where we got met by a very exhibitionist-ish Fantail who had no shy-ness about posing.  I actually think he was after the mozzies we disturbed - thus helping him catching dinner.     Speaking of dinner - time to head back and get ours sorted.

On the way back we spotted the sun and clouds and really weird looking - well light - so snapped a few of that - then of towards the Tasman Sea / beach and enjoy the last few rays of the sun. (dinner being late)
 There she is - ready for a dipping into the Sea.
 Always  (locals and tourists) watch from any vantage point and enjoy the view.  This time we just took pictures. For myself I remembered a very recent event there, where we had strawberries and bubbly and enjoyed the sights/sounds/smells with Cousin Doris and Co!!  Ahh miss you lot already
 Yup - not long now.  From there it was back the hall and a exquisitely cooked genuine Italian prepped Spag-bog! It had everything - flavor/ texture/ authenticity.  That of course just set up the bloke form Italy to be nominated as future camp cook.  We have high expectations for future quality meals.  Eh Chef!?!?! After a few drinks of red and cream cheese and crackers and - stuff - it was time to go to bed = and all slept - except for me who had a slight hickup - and a very loud freight train next to me.

 Next morning - Breakfast!! Some of us had a traditional English breakfast (of left overs) and others a Swiss/Austrian Muesli and of course the 'must have' (Italian produced)  Nutella on toast!!!
The Kiwi left his Marmite behind but I am sure it will go to camp in a few weeks time.
 The frying of the bacon created some teeny weeny bit of blue smoke . . . . . .

Who me???   Say what???  

 Having eaten / cleaned / packed and paid,  it was forward to do the other main-checking up/on thing - the hike!!  Recently there has been a storm wrecking and flattening entire forests, so we were a bit concerned about the quality of the  tracks.  However in and near Hokitika itself seemed to have escaped so we walked the Goldsborough track. It is a rather nature-ful track - in places ankle deep muddy and that was on a good day.


 Left or right?? Urm - straight up ol' Chap.  Follow the trail.

Obviously it is not a often walked trail.

 Yes this is the actual trail. 

 Having completed the challenge and ignored the option to actually pan for gold (which yes you can still find some nuggets if you pan for some hours or so) it was time to come back home and catch up on sleep and the wife. The weather forecast was for a lot of rain and it certainly for a while looked like it just might be . . . .

 Looking back towards Arthurs Pass - and yes - they did get a lot of rain - again!!! We just escaped that and I remember a time we traveled across here and even with the wipers going full double speed you did not see past 20 meters - the rest just disappeared in the rain.
 A new addition to the landscape.  Part of the mountain collapsed thus making this very distinctive U shape. 
 The cloud formation followed us
Porters Pass and the typical norwest cloud formation, being bent around the hills and forming distinctive wave patterns

Looking down the pass and towards Christchurch - still an hours drive away.

Eventually got home in one piece.  Along the journey back home some plans for the QEII Weekend Green-stone carving trip were finalized and tweaked.
Our Italian Maestro made plans for a suitable menu which sounds already delicious if not fattening and the English men pulled all things together in planning while the Kiwi bloke did the driving and listening,  and the Austrian - let the other nationalities do their thing.  Should be a good camp coming up.
So you see - it is amazing what can happen when 4 different nationalities put their heads together and set their mind to a task.

Have fun

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