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!