Welcome

31/10/2008 by

Greetings! You’ll find tons of info on this blog which we started in 2008.
It’s a place to find resources, articles, updates and info about Mountain Spirit, the world of healing and outdoor programs, experiential education, sustainable travel, holistic living, service opportunities, and info about our world in which we live. Also leave a comment or feedback.

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Journal entries from expeditions/programs, and service projects.
  • Updates on Mountain Spirit
  • Articles by Mountain Spirit staff
  • News and articles on Peak Oil, the environment, climate change, and life.
  • Holistic living
  • Resources on sustainable living
  • Travel updates
  • Opinion

You’ll see a range of topics as diverse as Mountain Spirit.
On behalf of everyone at Mountain Spirit,
Be Well, and thanks for stopping by!
Randall Richards, Editor/Writer
Mountain Spirit Blog


IMAGES: All images:  R. or A. Richards, unless otherwise noted with credits, or public domain from Google images.  Cover Video by the Master, Ashley Leung

A Reminder from the Universe

30/06/2021 by
From the Pacific Crest Outward Bound* Book of Readings
(*Now called Northwest Outward Bound)

I love it when spirit nudges us. Our family does an evening reading at our dinner table every night before eating. Without looking at the bookshelf behind me last night, I pulled a random book off the shelf. Then I opened to a random page, then I looked at a random quote.

It’s one of my favorite quotes:
“Believe me my young friend, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
Kenneth Grahame.

This quote arrives just when we’ve put our Lake Wanaka Yacht Charters business “on pause” due to New Zealand border closures. The lack of tourists is “forcing us to live our dreams” and as we consider and possibly prepare to use the yachts in more of an educational role, for experiential adventures on Lake Wanaka. This is my first love anyway. As every passenger that’s gone out on the lake with me attests, they got more than they bargained for, regarding an experiential sailing experience. Once they get out there, my job, and mission, is to light up their eyes and soul by helping them connect to the wind, the water, the place and themselves, and of course have fun.

Here at Mountain Spirit NZ, we’ve been hooked on the “AirBnB drug” prior to our Covid lockdown, and now we’re advertising for domestic visitors to stay with us with a purpose in mind, whether to just have a digital detox, record some music in our piano studio, or take some yin yoga classes with Amanda in the yurt. We’re stepping out into our own possibilities.

Although I’ve run Mountain Spirit Institute in the U.S. where we’ve done tons of different programs ranging from experiential immersion on the Rosebud Reservation to a powerful New England tour of Peruvian folk music, creating our own space here in New Zealand, and inviting people to come stay with us is uncharted territory. But we’re enjoying the ride, with all its ups and downs.

The trick to being fulfilled and successful, (however you personally define success), is stepping out of the way, allowing the Universe/Spirit/God to help out, and importantly, look for those reminder signs when they pop up and recognise them as such, then of course, take action.

I just attended a powerful presentation yesterday here in Wanaka, New Zealand, by Lake Wanaka Tourism They’re our local tourism association. As you can imagine, like many of us in tourism here in New Zealand, they’ve been in on a path or re-inventing themselves. They’ve been working on a new branding program. I’ll write more on that in later in a separate post, as it deserves more time. But I have to mention here, about the power of timing, being at the right place at the right time, taking action when a crisis/opportunity presents itself and listening to spirit. Lake Wanaka Tourism is taking the bold steps to create a wonderful vision of post-covid “tourism” for operators, the land, community and visitors alike.

Here’s just a snapshot of some of the Lake Wanaka tenets going forward:
The Vision:
“Our aspiration is for the visitor industry to enrich this place, as well as the lives of the local community both now and into the future. To create mutual value for Whanau/whanui (which includes our families , our community, our visitors), and our whenua (our place and natural resources) and our economy.

“Values:
Guardianship for our people, our place and our plant; Inclusive and respectful; Living with a sense of balance; bold and free thinking.”

There are plans being put into place with a whole re-adjustment of what it means to be in tourism here in Wanaka, and fortunately, the leadership and staff at Lake Wanaka Tourism are taking on the challenge with heart and purpose. The future looks bright because there’s a proactive approach. I look forward to sharing more about LWT’s and the community’s plans going forward in future posts. I would say LWT is following their spirit course.

Back to the reading about messing about on boats. I can’t wait for the next sign to come down the road, and hit me with a spiritual 2×4. But for now, I thought I’d share this little nudge from Spirit.

The Monolith That Watches Over Us

08/12/2020 by


The Power of Place
Just about now, (the Solstice, the longest day of the year, Dec 21st, at least here in the southern hemisphere), a 50-metre high monolith rises high in the valley above us, here at Mountain Spirit. It shows itself in the evening sunset shadows.
The Maori called this valley, Kahu, the Place of the Hawk. The summit, below which the monolith stands, is called Grandview because the first whites to gaze on the Upper Clutha Basin called it such a “grand view”. They came over the mountain and looked down on what is now Hawea and Wanaka, and were impressed with the valley and towering mountains to the west and south.
My son and I take occasional excursions near the monolith and I once walked up to its base, sniffing around for some potential rockclimbing sites. The monolith looked like a death wish, crumbly rock on all sides, but who knows, someone may try it someday. It just won’t be me. Besides, it should be left well enough alone.

The rock has different faces depicted in the rock, depending on whether you’re looking at it from the summit, to the side or below as in the images here.

I can imagine the Maori who lived in this valley, called this a power spot, similar to Bell Rock and other hot spots in Sedona, Mt. Shasta in California, and of course “Los Apus”, or, in English – The Mountain Spirits in Peru like Ausangate and Huascaran.

It feels like the energy in this valley is intense. Former owners (caretakers, actually) of this property, had their own challenges and there might be something to what indigenous peoples would say say: “The energy there was too intense to be living there all the time” as was said about Sedona.
It seems the massive stone watches over us througout the year, but this time of year, it really shows itself. I wonder if anything is written about this rock in any of the local historical writings. I’ll look into it and get back to you.
Meanwhile I thought you’d enjoy seeing some of the images just taken tonight.

What It’s Like Being Censored

12/09/2020 by

JP Sears has been a family favorite for a few years now. My wife first turned me onto him a few years ago with his classic video, “How to be Ultra Spiritual” and his spoof on how to irritate people by being vegan. If you haven’t seen his work, check out his website and his Youtube channel, while it’s still is there.

I attended an Eckhart Tolle retreat in Australia a couple of years ago, and Mr. Tolle had a wonderful “Evening of Spiritual Entertainment” multimedia presentation. Sears’ post about Tolle was included in the evening. I wrote to Sears, letting him know Tolle thought highly enough of his video to include it in his presentation. Sears was thrilled.

JP has really stepped up to the plate with this recent post. He’s effective not only because he has done his homework, is intelligent and gets the point across, but does it through humor. He’s recently been censored on Youtube and he didn’t take to it lightly.

JP Sears calls it like he sees it about censorship and free speech, and our rights.

It’s time for us all to step up our game, and protect our inalienable rights of free speech. I’ve considered my acquaintance with an alternative narrative, introduced to be me by my uncle in the late ’60’s, as a hobby. I’ve certainly looked into the alternative press, read history books, and personally interviewed “radicals” and made my own phone calls. Those interviews and phone calls were an eye opener, which confirmed my uncle’s views and insights. More in him in another post. Now it can no longer be considered a hobby. Now it is time to speak up, at age 62, I have a 9 year old, and I want him to know I also spoke up in the year 2020. I have accumlated too much information over the years not to speak up. If you have inside info, I suggest you do the same. Thanks JP for this inspiration. This blog has formally been restricted to Mountain Spirit’s wide mission statement, but in light of the recent events, it’s clear this subject falls under our mission to help reconnect to others, ones self, and nature by further the cause of freedom. So I hope you “enjoy” upcoming posts about my personal history, and knowledge of the NWO. I’ll back it up with personal experiences, and fact. I feel it’s my duty to forge ahead with what I have known for over 45+ years.
More to follow on this subject.

Slowdown Post #15: Almond Harvest!

10/09/2020 by

During lockdown we had time to pick almonds. You don’t actually pick them, you use long sticks or PVC pipe, and wack them off the branches so they land on a tarp. Just don’t get hit as they fall. It hurts! Then the work of taking off the skin and cracking the shells begins. We’re still looking a good for a good almond cracker, so if anyone knows of one, let us know. Right now, we’re doing the cro-magnum technique of smashing them with a river rock. After they’re out of the shell, we’re ready to make almond butter, almond milk or even eat nuts! We have about 6 almond trees here at Mountain Spirit, and since the nuts keep well, unlike the sweet chestnuts we have, we’re able to enjoy them throughout the winter. @purenewzealand

Slowdown Post #14: Wood Chopping and Stackin

09/09/2020 by

Stoking up for the winter, Conner splits and Jess stacks, nearing the end of a few day’s farm workout plan. Poplar dries quickly, and is quick to light, but its only good for a fire starter. Hardwoods are best for the slow burn. WE debated whether to hire a mechanical splitter, but Conner was happy to have the workout, and since poplar splits so easily, it went fairly quickly. Nevertheless, as you can see, there was quite a bit to split and stack. Living off the grid has its advantages and having warm fires to heat the house is a big one, not to mention the cost savings! purenewzealand#newzealand#wanaka#lovewanaka#mountainspirit

Fulfilling our Mission, and Our Passion

15/08/2020 by

House Astro - Copy

Before lock-down, here on the South Island of New Zealand, we were quite busy renting out our accommodation to AirBnB guests from all over the world. We enjoyed meeting people from Italy to the US, from China to India. Since lock-down, we’ve been gettingIMG_8761 - Copy copy bookings from individuals and families here in New Zealand, who want a “digital detox”, or to reset their perspective on life. There’s a huge demand for going within, and reconnecting with one’s self, with others and with nature. Humbly, I think we do that well here at Mountain Spirit. We’ve been at it for a while and are excited to share our space and experience. Amanda offers wonderful and centering YinYoga classes. Randall offers re-connection through “solo’s”, sailing and other experiential activities. Randall worked with Outward Bound for many years, then a mountain guide in South America for Alpine Ascents International, leading climbers up peaks in Peru, Argentina and Ecuador and has landed in New Zealand. Amanda has studied yoga most of her life, and spent some months in India practicing and learning. She most recently has been training under Sarah Powers. Come join IMG_8794 copyus if you’re so inclined to dive into your inner world. We’re at mtnspirit.nz

 

 

 

IMG_6032 copy 2

Slowdown Post #13: “Hayice” Climbing!

13/08/2020 by

20200513_120509 copyDuring lockdown Level 4, we eyed the farmer’s hay bales, the next field over, and received permission to take ice axes and crampons to them “as long as we didn’t tip any over on us”. It was remarkably realistic climbing except the occasional piece of straw in your boot and of course the warmth! Who knows, maybe it will catch on. It’s a great way to get a pump, and practice your skills. When growing up in New Hampshire, I took for granted the ice climbs that were 10-15 minutes’ walk from the car, Frankenstein Cliff’s in the White Mountains, come to mind, or smaller local climbs hidden in the woods near Sunapee. In New Zealand, you’ll need a full day’s approach by ski touring into Wye Creek, or Black Peak here in Wanaka to see any ice. No driving to the ice fall or belaying off the bumper here!

Slowdown Post #12: Apple Press v 1.0

12/08/2020 by

20200507_164721 copy

Jess and Conner rev up for our first round of cider making. This version had a few design flaws that was solved with our later version, which you’ll see soon. Mainly we had to beef up the cross beams because of the incredible amount of pressure exerted by the Toyota car jack. I also used sheets of thick steel for  the top compressor plate, and bottom drainage plate. We did away with the Mitre 10 bucket, replacing it with a cut-off from some large thick culvert drainage pipe from a building site.  It’s white and looks great. Since it was an offcut, it hadn’t been in the ground yet, so is usable for making cider. The storage contain top also has been replace by the beefy sheet of steel, also courtesy of the same building site, used with permission of course. @purenewzealand #newzealand #wanaka #lovewanaka #mountainspirit

Slowdown Post #11: Working with Micro Hydro Power

10/08/2020 by

Conner at Intake

Our micro hydro intake with the first layer of cement anchoring in place. Notice the newly installed anchor points for the next layer of anchoring material. This intake still has no water passing over the stream bed yet, which makes it easy to work in the stream bed. Otherwise one would have to divert the water while pouring cement.  We’ll just have to wait on Mother Nature.  This is 60 meters above the the turbine back at our house, and we’re about 600 meters away, so it’s quite a bit of pipe to lay down.We have  also use masonry bolts and chain to anchor the cement better into the stream bed. The chain runs through the hardened cement, leading to the bolts which are place on the large rocks in the stream bed. Hopefully that will keep the intake in place for years to come.   @purenewzealand #newzealand #wanaka #mountainspirit

Slowdown Post #10: Sweet chestnuts

09/08/2020 by

Jess

Sweet chestnuts are part of the bounty at Mountain Spirit during lockdown. North America saw a blight that eliminated the sweet chestnut tree from the whole continent, although through the American Chestnut Foundation, a blight resistant tree is growing. A friend of mine, John Herrington, was the executive director for a them, and I learned a little through his efforts in the early stages some years ago. Congratulations go to the foundation for doing a great job in the states. I look forward to learning more about their success in bringing the tree back.
So we feel extra grateful for these little roasters on the wood stove during the cold evenings.

Sweet chestnuts don’t keep very long, and we’re still experimenting on ways to preserve them over the winter months. Ground up into a flour, it’s great for baking, and of course, roasted on a stovetop or wood stove, they’re the best. IMAGE: Courtesy of Jessica, who helped us while woofing during lockdown.
@purenewzealand #newzealand #wanaka #lovewanaka #mountainspirit