Monday, December 3, 2007

Introduction to Hutt Valley Tramping club.

So the old knee feeling a bit more stable and stronger decided to venture out with the Hutt Valley Tramping Club. After all been talking about it for long enough.

So how did the day go...? Lets just say had to wait til today ( Monday) to get enough energy to blog it!

All started with a meeting at Rimutaka Forest Park car park at 8am, well a little after by the time we got through the gates and boots on.
Five of us seemed to march along the easy track to the Orongorongo stream together. All going well, lots of chatting and time for me to get to know the others a little.

Trip Leader showing how to not get boots wet, as we head up river crossing a couple of times before the grunt up Goat Steam. At about this point I was starting to wonder if I had taken on a little more than I could handle, a bit of a habit of mine. But chose not to think on it any more and just kept climbing , puffing and sweating.

Terrain leveled out and the magic of the forest overcome any thoughts of turning back.

'So where are those elves hiding.'

'I wonder what the rest of the world is doing right now'

Traversing across toward South Saddle inspired thoughts of magical forests and creatures, feels so far from civilization, such freedom.

South Saddle just behind that tree with the first of the humps up to Mt Matthews.

South Saddle. The trees reflect the ferocity of the howling westerly winds this area is exposed to....thankfully not during our visit.

I am sure Mr Frodo and Samwise passed this way on their epic journey to Mordor.

'The trees have eyes Mr Frodo, they are watching us...'

'So we take that ridge over there..'

'No no, this steeper one over here'

Trip leader and Mountain Man discuss the route down, again seems we will not be following the main track.

' I am going down that steep ridge...'

Trip leader seems to be conjuring up some plan for the descent...wonder if it has anything to do with scratchy leather bush and stinging nettles.

After much bantering and heckling we approached the summit and became surrounded with a soft covering of cloud, just enough to keep the temperature comfortable.

As height increased so did the views through the clouds. Looking down into the Wairarapa gave some reality and satisfaction to the height we had gained.

Of course the encouraging updates from the Trip leader consulting his altimeter, also kept us going. '100 m to go 98m....oops now back to 105m....

Stark beauty, the old trees still maintain a presence.

The climb much rewarded with the stunning view from the 941m summit Mt Matthews. View of Lake Ferry and the gorgeous coast line, not the mention the Lake Ferry pub, Mountain Man assured us he could see.

A lunch break on the top then begins the 'hard part' according to Trip Leader. A bit of a bush bash along the ridge north west of the summit til we find the spur.

And then, in the words of the Leader , the ' interesting part' of the climb down the spur to the rocky river below.

Again evidence of the prevailing winds in this area, and the steepness of the descent.
After a bit of a slog down the river, and much clambering over rocks, fallen trees a hut emerges from the trees.

The HVTC hut, a very original slab built hut which gave the impression of a vast history and full of stories.

A quick stroll across the river to Bains Hut and a team shot to finish the adventurous part of the trip. Left to trudge the couple of hours back along the river and Ororongorongo track to the car park arriving at the car around 7pm. A big day and I think slower than expected probably due to my wobbly knee and slow descent.

Parting shot.... cool evening light reflecting from the stream. Calm and still ... much as the spirit is after a challenging and exhilarating day in the Rimutakas.
Needless to say I will be joining this group again on adventures.
A superb experience, body, mind and spirit well satisfied.
Thank you team!

Monday, November 26, 2007

BMWs in the family

Cousin Peter and my brother Gary returning from the Burt Munro rally in Invercargil, called in for a cuppa today. So decided to join them for a ride out of town, up the Paekakariki Hill road. A favourite windy road for motorcyclists and a good way to avoid the heavy evening traffic.

Our three BMWs parked at the top of the Paekakariki Hill.
Such a beautiful sight!
So only afew weeks to go until my Aussie trip. getting excited!

Naenae Festival - chalk art

Naenae Festival on Saturday brought the people out to shop, listen to the bands and do chalk art. Probably not such a successful chalk art project as the Petone one, but all the same a nice project.

Afew of the local littlies came to get things started. Not sure about the guy with the bat, do not think he did much drawing!

Tony, came to add his expert touch after his exhibition opening the previous evening.

A fantastic sunny Naenae day, very hot and bright. Beautiful conditions to be adding colour to the pavement.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Memories of Dad and Wainuiomata south coast

Having recently picked up some of my dads orchids from his home, am very delighted to see one of them in flower.
Memories of my visits finding him in the shade house pottering with his beloved orchids. Among his possession, now with me are exercise books of information about individual plants and varieties, accompanied with numerous photographs.
Seeing this plant in flower gladdens me that I also share his passion for orchids, that I have inherited some of the qualities of my dad. Yet I have a huge amount to learn to be able to care for these precious plants adequately.

More I have to learn if I am ever to come near the marvels he created within his garden,
still I marvel at the apple tree he had grafted with several variety of fruit on the one original plant. He did the same with a pear tree. Must be fabulous at harvest time.

So with my special dear friends visiting from the Naki this weekend was an occasion for much celebration. Actually a little too much and the injured knee suffered as a consequence. Not too worry. So a gently trip to the beach was in order and time spent studying in detail the beauty nature has on display there.

The drying kelp such a delight of rich colours and textures.

The Hand intrigued me.
I feel I have been lacking a little lately in adventures due to the wobbly knee.
However just about 5 weeks til motorcycling Australia adventure, so time to recover before that. Not long actually.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rimutaka Incline

Due to this torn ligament in my knee I had to cancel the hiking trip had planned for this weekend. Cycling apparently the best exercise to strengthen the knee without risk of further injury. Not satisfied with a gentle ride around the streets of Lower Hutt or Petone threw the bike in the car and drove up to the Rimutaka Incline track. Just have a strong desire for adventure .......
Very interesting and gentle ride up the west side of the incline, gentle gradient and pleasant scenery. Mostly scrub and pines with some native trees trying to make a comeback. The area was subjected to many fires during the years the railway was used. This being due to the large amount of sparks from the fell engines.

Parked the bike on the only remaining original bridge and photographed its beautiful colours and textures

A little further on came upon the first of the four tunnels on the Rimutaka incline trail.
This one at 75metres long is a baby compared to what was to come.

Beautiful sandstone and concrete blocks line the inside of the tunnel. Unseen in such detail by the human eye however with the advantages of adjusting digital camera and tweaking the image with Photoshop, the interior of the tunnel is brightened allowing a nice view of the lining ...and the folk making their way through.

Once at the top the somewhat sad sight of the old engines left to rust greets one. Beautiful shapes and surprisingly small, to me. Covered in a fabulous rich red rust. Beautiful to photograph.

Being fairly ignorant about rust and its impact on different metals I am guessing that the fantastic green is the result of copper.

Lovely contrasting colours and fabulous textures

So now the biggy. The 580 metre tunnel. Again enhanced with photoshop. The tiny spot of light is the light at the end of the tunnel. Important to keep focused on this when negotiating this tunnel. A very weird and unbalancing feeling riding through this. Actually not really to my liking as completely dark, cold and wet in the middle. Next time take a headlight!

Made it to the other end !

This is where the fun begins! 6 km down the east side of the incline, the steep side. This side is not as manicured as the west and way more fun.
It did however briefly flick through my mind as I was racing down the track, that I would have to ride back up again.

Some of the trail looking like the way into Mordor. The track can just be seen left side cutting across the hillside.

On the was back up the last of the four tunnels and the remains of a bridge that nature has washed away.

Have to confess after the ride back up my poor old knee was a wee bit painful. Just maybe I over did it a little. Hey but had fun!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Taranaki and Moon

Moon seems to have a very strong effect on my moods.
It seems in our daily lives little respect or appreciation to the rhythms and flow of nature is given, yet so vulnerable and influenced we are by the seasons and cyclic patterns.

As I have injured my 'good knee' as opposed to my already scarred and slightly wobbly motorcycle crash knee, I am pretty stir crazy at not being able to get up the mountains or out on the motorcycle.

So looking back to the last time in Taranaki. My very fit and sprightly mum and I headed up to Pouakai hut. Managed to miss the rain and shelter from most of the strong winds but unable to get much view from the top of the ranges. However some lovely gnarly old trees on the way.

All smiles, we leave the car park.
Mum getting slightly frustrated with my constant photographing I think.
Weathered and tortured by the elements, these hardy trees grow despite it all.

Down to the sea to see what I can see.
Who needs a brand new aquarium built on a prime rock pool location in Wellington. One only has to spend time hunting around to discover all sorts of life in all sorts of colours, shapes and textures.

Run away star fish. I was totally surprised how fast these creatures can move when the mood takes them.
A whole new world, one that goes on continuously day and night each and every creature living its life in the way designed, just doing what they do, despite our interference in the world. But for how long will this be. So important it is to let these environs be in the natural state, as unaffected by human impact as possible.