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Rata Escape Spring Challenge

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
The final weekend of September saw Spring Challenge fever descend on Geraldine. The weather cleared nicely on the Saturday and plenty of energy was expended by the 1800 or so women taking part. What a buzz! Rafting on a high and fast Rangitata River, running halfway up and down Mt Peel, fracturing a wee finger, biking madly along gravel roads and orienteering along the way. 
Here we have the Rata Escape team (Shirley, Judith, Elspeth) trotting over the finish line very relieved to arrive ....after a good race despite a trial or two with the maps!


The team gear ...and taking the chance to advertise....


The following week we were out on our closer local mountain marking up the track for another hill race - Mission Mount Somers - which takes place in a couple of weeks. Can't have the competitors getting lost....!





Judith and Elspeth amongst the weathered mountain beech. 
It is clematis season and this native climber is a stand out in the beech forest at the moment. 



I can't help taking photos of the stunning patterning which occurs so beautifully in nature. Especially stunning on a dull day. 











Springing into spring

Friday, September 08, 2017
Spring is arriving in Mid Canterbury with daffodils, blossom, lambs and calves, although the temperatures are still very variable.

For South Island women there is a big challenge just around the corner, in fact only 3 weeks away!....the 11th Spring Challenge Adventure Race at the end of September.
This year it has become the biggest one day and highest participated adventure race in the World with 600 teams ....which equates to 1800 women participating!!
It is being held around Geraldine and Judith, Shirley and I have been getting out there and putting in a bit of effort with training for team Rata escape







New calves on our bike ride around Geraldine district.
And an uphill trip to work those legs ....with a fun a speedy route down!




Our tramp a week later was in the Peel Forest area to get our heads around the possible Spring Challenge geography.
The team slogged it to the top of Little Mt Peel via the route less travelled and looped back down the more trodden deer spur.
Great vistas!









Go Team Rata Escape ....Elspeth, Shirley, Judith!

Honeydew on Hookey Knob

Monday, August 21, 2017
With a beautiful morning on Saturday, we decided to make the most of it considering the dreich, wet days we have been having recently.
A great winter wander is up to Hookey Knob and Staveley Hill on the Mt Somers South Face Track. It really catches the sun.



We had to see how high the Bowers Stream was running under the bridge!

The trunks of the beech forest have a fair bit of honeydew now. This is produced by scale insects, which suck sap and secrete honeydew from their anal tubes (fine hair-like growths on the tree trunk}. Sooty mould fungus grows on the waste honeydew that has run down the trunk, forming a dark sponge-like covering. Birds are also attracted to feed on the sweet tasting honeydew.


The freshness and colours of the bush are stunning!  








View from the top

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

We are excited ....check out this link to see the 50 best things to do in the South Island! We are there at no 31!

www.skydivefranz.co.nz/south-island


The school holidays are in full swing with some beautiful days up Mt Hutt interspersed with stormy days and snowfalls.

White foothills blanket

Thursday, July 13, 2017
The first big storm of winter has been moving north through NZ this week causing havoc! Always good for a few photos though.

These ewes on the farm were well sheltered and happy, and Charles, Pippa and I got out for some fun on the cross country skis and to pick up the mail.











Into the ski season

Friday, July 07, 2017

The ski season at Mt Hutt is now in full fling! The mountain is looking beautiful with a good snow cover and the temperatures have dropped nicely with clear frosty days. 

Rata Escape accommodation is full of happy skiers.....still a few gaps though if you are looking for a cosy and inviting place to rest up!!

Winter Magic

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

A good snowfall has arrived on the Canterbury mountains as if on cue for the opening of Mt Hutt Skifield which is scheduled for Friday 9th June. Great timing!
With some friends, Judith and I took a walk up Mount Alford on Tuesday from where we had a grandstand view of the ski mountain as seen in this photo. 




The frosted snow sparkled underfoot with the glistening white stretching inland as far as the eye could see ....like icing sugar sprinkled over the tops. 
And ... we had a couple of big birthdays to celebrate in style on the summit!! 



Winter on its way!

Sunday, April 09, 2017
The year is definitely heading towards winter! 
We have had an abundant autumn with beautiful toadstools and bucketloads of edible mushrooms from the paddocks. Then after the storm of last week the clouds cleared to reveal the first snow of the year covering the slopes of Mt Hutt and the other foothills.
Skiing does not seem too far off!
Rata Escape makes a great base for your winter getaway and you can be on the slopes skiing within an hour of leaving home.






Staveley Wedding

Sunday, March 26, 2017
My daughter Anna's wedding to Mitch was planned to be held in the garden at Rata Escape which would have been beautiful in any weather other than the particular weather we had on their chosen weekend in March!

However Staveley village is a wonderful venue for a wedding with the lovely church and the adjacent Staveley Hall. Friday was spent decorating both and a lot of fun was had as family and friends pitched in!
The wedding was a very happy affair as the hundred plus guests squeezed in together out of the rain .... and as they say, the photos are always better on a dull day!! 
The reception carried on into the wee small hours.....






Cheesemaking workshop at Rata

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

We have recently enjoyed the company of the Mauter family who signed up for various activities from Rata including a cheesemaking workshop instructed by Jude. Using fresh milk from the mornings milking.... these cheese connoiseurs were very keen to get started! 

Below are some photos from a fun morning creating and sampling feta and haloumi, with the alternative entertainment of flax weaving on the side during the "brewing" stages. We shared a tasty lunch made from all local ingredients including the cheese. Cheers!!