Saturday, January 17, 2009

Summer Holiday

We are just back from two fabulous weeks climbing in Golden Bay. The kids really pushed themselves ... and their parents. I think Josiah was a bit bemused when he he succeeded at 1080 and the Letter G, one of Paynes Ford's classic climbs, about half way through the trip. Didn't take him long to set himself a bunch of new goals though; he spent his evenings pouring over the guide books. Here he is hanging from 1080 on his first attempt at the climb, during which he did all the moves but took some breaks hanging on the rope.



Tessa must have had a secret goal of improving her mother's endurance. She dragged me along for two marathon sessions: "nine climbs on the ninth" (of January) at Seagrass Wall, Pohara, and, on our final day, all the climbs on Little Lost Wall, Paynes Ford, except Lost Soul (too hard for now) and Knicknack Paddywack (too scary), which left eleven climbs! She didn't choose easy climbs either. The "nine on the ninth" included Tessa's hardest outdoor climb to date, a grade 19, and two or three grade 18s. I couldn't keep up, only attempting eight of the nine, and falling off climbs tired on our final day.

A bonus of staying longer in Golden Bay this trip than we did last summer was meeting other climbers and feeling like part of the transient but very friendly Golden Bay summer climbing community. One day, Tessa had a group of Germans cheering her on and giving her suggestions; on our last couple of days, she exchanged climbing tips with two Finnish climbers. Several groups of climbers stayed at our campground, including three lovely couples from Palmerston North, Christchurch and Korea, and Wellington. Here is a photo one of them took of Tessa.



We camped at Takaka Camping Ground which is far superior to Pohara Top Ten Holiday Park where we stayed last year. Takaka Camping Ground is small and therefore peaceful. We enjoyed sitting under the trees on hot afternoons when we returned from climbing or walking. They have the best campground showers ever! The facilities were clean and sufficient for the number of campers (in stark contrast to the situation at Pohara). And the managers were very friendly and helpful. We look forward to seeing them again next time.

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