Posted by: Talie Morrison | February 22, 2009

An Amazing Day

I have been having a great time still in New Zealand – doing lots of backpacking and making and visiting New Zealand friends.

Lisa Harding (from Antarctica) and I did a short hike on the West Coast.   It was pretty mellow – anything with the name of “Charming Creek” has got to be pretty mellow!   

Friendly Robins (that’s a NZ Robin on the railing)


img_2200  Some great waterfalls!









Light at the end of the tunnel!

Light at the end of the tunnel!



Old mine tunnels








From there I put together a couple of nights up the Matiri Valley which is near Murchison.   But first, I had to have one of the Murchison local brews called: Seismic Stout 



This is in honor of the 1929 

Earthquake that leveled Murchison

The quote on the bottle is:

“Slips Down Faultlessly”

(what will they think of next?)





The hike up the Matiri Valley was pretty easy for the first 3 hours to the Matiri Lake Hut, but from there on it was a matter of bush-bashing from marker to marker!    After another 6 hours, I wasn’t even at the next hut.  So I set up an overnight camp near the river


img_22531It’s pretty much a “no-no” to camp

by a river in New Zealand – but it was such a clear night and  no rain that I felt pretty comfortable being there. 







I was pretty tired of bush-bashing and headed back out the next day and decided to go see my friend, Christine, who lives in Nelson.   She had other company coming, so I made track back out into the woods for another couple of days.   This time I picked a most excellent route!   And this is the start of why I am calling this blog entry “An Amazing Day”.   

      This trip was up Pine Valley in the Mt. Richmond Forest Park.   I knew ahead of time that it was going to be all UP!   And they were right it was “relentlessly” UP.   But the beauty of it was that it was a clear track and (amazingly enough) no bush-bashing!   Whew what a relief!  🙂   Of course with all this UP, you know there has to be a peak at the end of the valley!  Yup – Fishtail Peak at 1645 meters.   As I came up the ridge, I got to an awesome high mountain hut!

img_2368You may first notice the

outhouse – and the hut looks like a large rock at about 1:00 from the outhouse (I decided it was a “loo with a view”)

  Named, not so surprisingly, The Fishtail Hut.   It was a “wee” hut, with just 4 bunks and a little counter for your cook stove – and that was it!    But it was perfect for me!  

That afternoon, I climbed up the peak (of course) – and it was spectacular on top  (as always!)


Now, the next day, is the start of this Amazing Day!    So it was a beautiful morning and I knew that my whole hike would be DOWN – since I did all the UP yesterday.   It was a beautiful thing!  🙂   I was back down to Yanqui by lunch time.   Yanqui was parked near a stream, so I was able to cool off, clean up, and have a wee swim in the creek.   Life is good!   I packed up and was ready to go, but……. Yanqui’s battery was dead as could be!   YIKES!  (I remember there being a sign telling me to turn my lights on – but then, oops, I guess I forgot to turn them off!)   Ok….. so I put on my tennis shoes, grabbed some sunscreen, water, etc. and down the road I go.   After about 4 kilometers – I come to a ranch house.   I knocked on the door and promptly met Lloyd Mapp who lives there.   Lloyd was just having a late lunch and invited me in to have a fresh tomato and cucumber sandwich along with a cup of tea!   New Zealanders are SO hospitable!   Then Lloyd took me up and we jumped started Yanqui – down here a dead battery is called “flat” and a jump is called a “boost” – you gotta talk the “language”!   🙂  



Then I followed Lloyd back to the house to be sure Yanqui didn’t decide to stall.   Lloyd was getting ready to “shift some sheep” and asked me if I wanted to go with him.   Well OF COURSE 🙂   So we (along with his 3 sheep dogs) moved about 1500 sheep from one pasture through 3 different fields to another pasture.


 I really am impressed with the way the sheep dogs are able to understand what to do from a few sharp whistles from their owner!    Then we “4-wheeled” around the station (a ranch down here is a “station”) checking on some of his cattle and on his deer herd.    So what a treat to get a working tour of the area – again (this time) because my battery was “flat”!   

So after another cuppa, I thanked Lloyd and off I went down the road.   About 6 kilometers from Pine Valley, I see an older gentleman walking in the middle of the road.   So I met Phillip – who had just had a accident and driven his car off the road into the river! Phillip is 82 and in great shape for his age, but an accident like that shakes anyone up no matter what their age is.   I was amazed that he was able to get out of the car and get back up to the road.


  Several other cars soon stopped and we helped him get his gear out of the car.   Since I was pretty “free” for the night, I told him I would drive him to a medical center (to be checked out) and to his home and “stick with him” till his wife got back from Nelson.   Thus I have come to know this  wonderful gentleman who lives in Blenheim!   

  They offered to fix me a late dinner after Phillip’s wife got home – but I had a chiropractic (oops – a little issue with my back going on) appointment for the next day in Nelson.   There was supposed to be a big rain storm coming in, and I wanted to go ahead and drive most of the way to Nelson that evening.   So I left Phillip and Jos, and headed to Nelson.   Stopping at a lovely little picnic area to spend the rest of the night in Yanqui.   (Sure enough it was pouring by 5 am!)    So on this “Amazing Day”, I started in an alpine hut, swam in a mountain stream, toured a sheep station, and helped a gentleman in need – it was pretty amazing!

img_2502   So the next day,after my chiro-appointment, another friend, Christine (who is both Kiwi and Scottish) and I went to have dinner at another ranch with friends who had 4 horses!   (There is definitely not any grass growing under my feet these days!)


That’s me, Christine, Barry (who is Kiwi) and Jan (his wife who is from Alaska!)


So now I am back in Christchurch – waiting to meet up with Karen, Tighe, Marci, and Linda who are on the last plane leaving McMurdo.   Summer is over for McMurdo and the long winter has started!



  1. Talie – I love your wonderful days 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing! Love to see your edelweiss montbell shirt in the pics 🙂 I can’t wait to wear ours together this summer in CB.
    Love you! Mel

  2. Every day is amazing when you are with Talie

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