Sunday, April 21, 2019

#Fi50: Exactly

It’s #FictionIn50 time again!  Please consider sharing your own 50-word creations, and join the hop.

Fiction in 50 is a regular feature in the last week of every month and I invite any interested composers of mini-narrative to join in!

fiction in 50   image Fiction in 50 NEW BUTTON

What is #Fi50? In the words of founder Bruce Gargoyle, "Fiction in 50: think of it as the anti-NaNoWriMo experience!" Pack a beginning, middle and end of story into 50 words or less (bonus points for hitting exactly 50 words).

The rules for participation are simple:

1. Create a piece of fictional writing in 50 words or less, ideally using the prompt as title or theme or inspiration.
That’s it!  But for those who wish to challenge themselves further, here’s an additional rule:

2. Post your piece of flash fiction on your blog or (for those poor blog-less souls) add it as a comment on the Ninja Librarian’s post for everyone to enjoy.  
And for those thrill-seekers who really like to go the extra mile (ie: perfectionists):

3. Add the nifty little picture above to your post (credit for which goes entirely to ideflex over at or create your own Fi50 meme pic….
and 4. Link back here so others can jump on the mini-fic bandwagon.
At this time, I haven't been able to find a source for a free linky-list, so it's just comments. I recommend posting your basic blog link below, with the day you post your Fi50 story. You can also add a link on the #Fi50 page. Feel free to Tweet using the #Fi50, though I'll not lie: the Ninja Librarian is a lousy tweeter.

This month’s prompt is Exactly.


What did we think we were doing, anyway? A few minutes of delusion, and you pay with your life. Simon convinced me we could do the climb and be back before the weather went bad. 

“I never would have thought it could change so fast,” he muttered.

Never thought. Exactly.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

WEP: Jewel Box

Apologies for a lack of polish and all the usual info about the amazing WEP (Write, Edit, Publish) Challenge! And I’m on the road again, so I’ll be commenting as I can on the everyone else’s posts. If you are a participant, I’ll be around to see you before June :).  If you aren’t, consider joining in!

I originally mixed this up with last April’s challenge (the road less traveled), which made me want to do a photo essay. Even though that’s not what the challenge is, I could see the jewel box working for some of my photos, so here goes...

New Zealand itself is a jewel box of fantastic scenery, so I had to narrow this down. I decide to share photos of... some beautiful rocks I’ve found here! We have spent most of our time in the mountains, but we did get to the beach a few times. When we did, I wanted to pick up and take home every stone and shell I saw. Mostly I took photos and put them back. Here are some of the “jewels” I left behind.

“I left my heart in New Zealand”

 And a few shells, too.

Some of the best rocks you just can’t haul home.
Harris Lake/Harris Saddle on the Routeburn Track

Friday, April 12, 2019

Photo Friday: Gillespie Pass/Siberia Valley

My husband and I are spending several months traveling and tramping in New Zealand. We arrived on the South Island Dec. 28, 2018, and spent January hiking like crazy with our 21-year-old son, Dave’s brother, and his wife. February and March we spend largely based in Christchurch with our son, and now we are on the road for a final 3 weeks to visit the North Island. But I’m still catching up with January. This was the last of our four major multi-night tramps in that month.

Gillespie Pass/Siberia Valley semi-loop

This was a rugged tramp with some seriously steep ups and downs, and some poor weather in the forecast. My sister-in-law wisely decided to sit this one out, but the other four of us headed out boldly. The trip began with a five-minute jet-boat ride across and up the river, thus saving us either a potentially dangerous ford or an extra 2 or 3 miles of hiking (from the nearest bridge).

It was interesting to see how they handled the jet boats. The river is too erratic to allow for any permanent dock, so they trailer the boats across the road, and back a mobile dock into the river!
Launching the dock. He then drove the boat around and moored it to the dock.
It was forecast to be a wet day, but the early morning had only a few sprinkles and things started off promisingly. The trail mostly followed the river, with an occasional detour through a meadow to cut off a curve. Later the detours were up and over steep bluffs.
Hopeful—or deluded—trampers hit the trail.
By late morning the rain had begun, and the ponchos came out. We were following the Young River upstream; at this point the river split (actually, of course, two branches came together). We had to cross one, but happily there was a bridge.
That strange blob isn’t an alien—it’s my son!
Lunch—the only time we got to sit down on the whole hike, since it was so wet out. Note the rather small size of dry area under the shelter!
The tank on the right is water collected from the roof, to provide drinking water. This is untreated but generally safe—we never bothered treating any of the water provided. 
The next morning the weather was better, and kept improving. We enjoyed the first part of the hike, up to the upper valley where we turned to go over the pass. The stream was a beauty.

Things got more interesting when we started up.
Yes, that’s the track, and yes, it really is that steep.
The view from the summit was stunning—both for the beauty and wildness of what we could see, and because I realized how far down we had to go—and the trail on that side was nearly as steep, and a lot longer.
The hut is around to the left on that lowest meadow. Ow ow ow.
The views were in all directions, though, and many of them I didn’t have to climb (or descend).

In spite of everything (including a gratuitous 500’ climbout of the upper valley adding to the total descent!) we made it to the Siberia Hut, which is very nice and fairly new, having burned in the last 10 years or so and been rebuilt.
My husband (right) and his brother relaxing in front of the famous view.
Next day, not having damaged our knees enough, we did a day-hike to Crucible Lake, which involved a similar sort of no-nonsense trail. First we had to cross the Siberia River. Brrr!
Happily only knee deep
Then we started up.
Tree roots make a good staircase. 
 It took another wet stream crossing, but we finally reached the lake. It is tucked so deeply into a south-facing (dark side) cirque that it never fully melts out.
My feet didn’t thaw, either.
Lunch always helps.

Fortunately, the final day was fairly easy. It began with some beautiful clouds.

Then it was farewell to the valley. Though it started with an easy valley walk, the trail did climb about 600’ before dropping to the Wilkins River. In 1996, my husband and I explored well up that river, then hiked 2 days to get out. This time we picked up a jet boat after lunch, at the point where we started our second day of walking down the river last time. As that hike ended in a nearly disasterous river crossing, we were glad to have the ride.
High winds added to the speed of the boat made it a *very* breezy ride!
This was our last major hike with the group, and we were delighted to be met by Carol, who had dinner for us in a warm, dry cabin out of the wind. We were glad not to be tenting as the wind was fierce all night!

Still lots more NZ adventures to come!

Text and photo copyright Rebecca M. Douglass. Please do not use without permission. Link-backs are always appreciated!