Socks. You don't need socks in California in July. You need jandels, boardies and beer, but not socks!
If you live in NZ and are working in the central north island during July then you will need socks... and a bunch more warm things as well. Having spent the past couple of years working on my 340+ jandel days a year this winter came as a bit of a shock. jacksonoutdoors almost became jacksonindoorswithbrieftripsoutsideintothebitternewzealandwinter.blogspot.com but I figured it would never really take off.
I have managed a few adventures here and there but my days in a kayak have been outnumbered by my days on a snowboard (4) and my days sick (6) but not quite my days hung over (3). Awesome, really... Mmm, anyway.
One such adventure had my driving to a river just north of Whakamaru which is just north of Wellington (by 6 hours).
I teamed up with the esteemed team of Brendan Bayly and Bernard Oliver. With plenty of rain around we headed for the Mangawhio River which is almost (literally) in Brendan's backyard.
All we knew is that it was beautiful and was steep in places.
About 20 seconds into the run the river signals its intentions. A clean crisp 12 footer. The next 30mins is filled with plenty of boogey water set amongst beautiful NZ bush.
A cascade and the main road bridge signals its time to step aside or step up. The 2 and 3 foot drops you scouted from the bridge turn into 10 and 12 foot drops. The bottom three drops are where all the goods lie. 10 foot into 30 foot into 40 foot of goodness. After scrambling to scout the combo we make a call. Berno and big drop Bayly will fire up the first two while I video. Then they will wait 15 nervous minutes in the micro eddy while I 'climb' my way back up to my boat. Easy.
Brendan lead by example making the top two look easy. Berno followed the trend. Sweet, my turn. Top drop, good, 30 footer, sweet until I land and my back rest blows out. Awesome. 3 kayaks, two boat eddy, vertical walled gorge and 8m down stream the river falls away another 40 feet. After trying in vein to sort my backrest the answer is obvious. Turn and tuck.
After a decent thrashing at the bottom I rolled up minus an elbow guard and smiles all round. Brendan follows soon and joins me in the eddy to watch Berno get the best thrashing I have seen in a long time... and its all caught on tape.