I returned to the North island several days earlier than I thought I would. After really having to search out rides, and weed out the good from the stupid, I think that I got to ride most of what I had come to the South Island to do, and felt like there were a few unchecked boxes back on the North side of the straight.
Pancake flat, with the mountains an hour’s drive west and the Southern Ocean at its doorstep, I did not think that Christchurch was a likely spot for great mountain biking. Yet south of town between a couple of harbors rise a range of grass covered hills called the Port hills. These offer a beautiful collection of well-crafted trails that climb and curve down around and over the hillsides, and remind me of the riding on the California coast at San Luis Obispo, including the offshore fog bank.
Things not to run into on a mountain bike…
In a place that holds more fresh water per capita than any other country on the planet, and vast areas of temperate rain forest, it is unreasonable to expect nothing but sunny days for 2 months, and as I look back over the past 5 weeks I am amazed at how many days of riding I have gotten in.
31 Dec 2017
I woke up on the side of the road next to a set of train tracks. A steady rain started sometime in the night, and everything in the van felt wet, and my feet itched uncontrollably from the sand fly bites. My plan to drive over Arthur Pass and ride in the Cragieburns was dismissed about 5 seconds after regaining consciousness. There comes a point in the dirt-bag lifestyle when it stops being fun, and you realize that literally everything that you have to do for yourself involves far more effort than living in a house.
Dec 26 2017
Things I have noticed:
Things for which I have no explanation at all:
December 18th to 22nd
Waihaha to Waihora
I woke up in Kinloch to the sound of rain plinking off of the top of the van, along with an angry and ragged wind that was trying to drive lake Taupo into town. One look outside and I imagined a day hiding out from the elements, and started to consider alternate activities.
I have been mountain biking in and around St. George since John Czinczoll (builder of the JEM trail) took me down the Green Valley loop in 1993, on a bike with no suspension, and operated by a rider with few actual skills, and a basic ignorance of the physics of inertia. I only really got the mountain bike bug after coming back from a climbing trip to Thailand in 2003, which sort of burned me out on traveling to go rock climbing.
Some of you already know, but Todd Goss, the owner and founder of Paragon Adventures has ventured off to boldly spend 2 months mountain biking in New Zealand this winter. ( 2 months?! I feel bad for his bike seat!)
After one week on the other side of the planet, Todd has realized that he has had to overcome many challenges just to get off of the ground and start riding. He will be sending you tips on how to plan your own trip to this magical part tof the world, and hopefully help you be prepared for some of these unforseen obstacles you may encounter. So stay tuned!
As an avid hiker, explorer, and outdoor lover, living in a place like Saint George Utah can be overwhelming. Amazing hikes surround us here, to the point where even after fifteen years of exploring the area, I still get to find new adventures every year. The BLM wilderness Southeast of Zion National Park is a massive, wild, backcountry area full of slot canyons, 4×4 roads and mountain lion tracks. In early 2017 I finally stepped foot into this area to explore some canyons I had never seen before.
It is difficult to get the term “sedimentary chaos” out of my mind as I wander across the jumbled convolutions of White Pocket Arizona. The normal explanations for the colors, striations and crossbedding of the Navaho layer seem fantastically inadequate for the geological craziness that stretches off in every direction. It feels like I am walking around in an Escher painting and at some point I begin simply attributing everything to leprechauns and stop trying to imagine how all this rock got so geologically befuddled, which is not to say that the amazement factor is diminished in any way.