My training for the Milford Sound walk is gradually ramping up... Yesterday I walked two hours in to the Te Apiti lookout, and back out again. (I don't think it used to take me two hours to get that far!) I walked uphill on the main track, then finished off the downhill down the Tawa Loop section. There were a few muddy patches on the main track- but Tawa Loop excelled itself with mud! I think I might give it a few weeks to dry out before I do that section again...
Here's the Strava track of what I did.
And here are the altitude changes...
The recent rain had stopped and it was a lovely day for walking, but the waterfall at the start of the track was still running quite full.
I saw my first nikau flower of the season.
And this fungus was full after the rains.
This is the view from Te Apiti lookout. You can see many of the windmills, and further to the left you also see Ashhurst.
There are more up and down sections once you pass the top of the Tawa Loop, but there are also some lovely flat ridge top sections through the trees.
It is probably about three years since I was on this section of the Gorge, and it was odd how I had forgotten the 'timings' I used to know so well between the different lookouts etc. But I remembered this 'gap' in a fallen log as a 'marker' of having finished the first section of the climb. It has decayed a little more, but was still the same 'old friend.'
And just to finish off, here is a pic of one of the many muddy sections downhill on the Tawa Loop track...
It's not usually this bad though! And I had a wonderful walk.
I am doing both the Milford and the Routeburn tracks in December- so training has begun in earnest to get my fitness up to scratch! Over the past month I have been walking on various circuits based on the Turitea Walkway here in the city. But the time has come to 'up-scale' my efforts onto the Manawatu Gorge Walkway.
It's been quite a while since I've walked there. I was slow up the hill.... and took rests- but I managed it all better than I had thought I would...
Here are a few photos from the morning's walk.
Because the Gorge road itself is now closed, it seems like nobody is taking care of this commemorative plaque from 1926, dating from when the road was widened.
This is the view from Tom's Lookout. There is a seat where you can rest after the hardest bit of the climbing up the Tawa Loop is all done, and it gives a good view over the Manawatu River. Note the nikau palm- there are many of these along this track.
I love the view of punga fronds against sunshine and a blue sky.
After recent rains the track was quite muddy in places, and there was quite a bit of this fungus.
Here are some of the tall tawa trees the loop is named after- along with some nikau fronds.
This large sculpture of Whatonga, a Rangitane chief, has been placed at the top of the Tawa Loop track.
On the way back down again, I stopped briefly at this lookout over White Horse rapids in the Gorge.
I always love noticing the 'little things' along the way, like this spiderweb.
You pass through a gateway as you enter the Gorge track. I took this photo as I finished- when the sunlight was better... The signs have information about Rangitane history and folklore connected with this place, as well as information about the geology etc.
I was glad to manage this walk without too much difficulty- and plan to be back most weekends over the coming six weeks- gradually going further along the track...
This poor forlorn neglected blog. You could blame my renewed interest in genealogy- that takes up time... But now I am starting a renewed fitness splurge as I am going to be walking the Milford Track in December -ages away I know, but I want to enjoy the serious hill climb day then!
First step in the fitness plan is just to increase the amount of walking I do around town. When spring rolls around I will have to be fit enough to make the Rangiwahia Hut walk easily...
I know I have used photos from all these local walks before- but every walk has different weather, lighting, times of day and seasons, and so I hope I don't repeat myself too much. The sunlight just has to fall in a certain way, and you notice something quite different even on a very familiar walk.
So here is today's loop on some of the Turitea/Summerhill walkways. I parked by the bridge as my starting point.
It was a 5.6km stretch, with a few ups and downs.
Here are some photos from along the way.
Nearing the university- this seat seems to have left its old home and been abandoned...
The first set of stairs to climb. There is a Very Serious set of stairs near here, that Serious Fitness Fanatics like to climb. Hmmm, I might have to adopt their practice in a few months.
I am always fascinated by this powerline tower- and how it changes its looks depending on the sky.
I took a glimpse off the track to the farmland, but no animals are here today.
These trees seem to stand guard over the pathway to the distant hills. Next time I walk here I wonder if they will be bare for winter.
I walked a short section along the road- saw some interesting old gates.
And I passed this early blooming camellia- with delicate flowers.
When I cut across a reserve to find the walking track down Summerhill, I was looking for this comfy seat to rest on. As I get older I appreciate them more!
This particular seat was a memorial one for a woman who would have fought to make the place I was in more accessible for us all.
Once I was back downhill there was a spot beside the path that has been cleared for housing I think. (Not sure I would want to live so close to a river that might flood but oh well...)
My walk nearly finished, I had time to enjoy the view from the bridge, and to enjoy the shadows cast by the gentle autumn sunlight.
Nearly back to my car, I saw another of these stormwater draincovers. I love this series that someone designed.
So, that's today's walk... tomorrow's will be gentler as I go out to collect some signs of autumn for my classroom.
Today I decided to take a wee roadie up the Pohangina Valley along some of the Manawatu Country Road. From Ashhurst I headed north until the turn-off right for Totara Reserve. After a bit of exploration at the Reserve, I headed north some more along the Country Road as far as Umutoi. Next I back-tracked to take the metal road towards Makoura Lodge, but at the Pohangina Rd turn-off I turned left and headed south again. (There are quite a few 'options' on the Country Road, though this last metal section is not highlighted.) I finished with an ice-cream from the dairy in Ashhurst, long a known haunt of trampers- not that I had done much even in the way of gentle walking!
And now for some photos from the journey.
This country route is a quiet one, with little in the way of road traffic, (though I saw a few brave cyclists, fully laden with camping gear, heading north uphill on the metal sections of Pohangina Rd.) There are still many old barns that catch the eye as you pass, and they made me think of inhabitants in times gone by.
The Pohangina River is never far away in this whole area. I had a bit of a nosey around Totara Reserve, in case I decide to take a weekend camping break somewhere local over the summer. It was surprisingly calm and free of wind there. I did see a couple of families with children squealing over an eel caught in their trap- but they were putting it back in the river as it was too small. But yesterday they apparently caught a big one!
This wee 'rapid' was in the Pohangina River. The cliffs near here make swimming too dangerous at this spot. Sadly some children died when some of the cliff face collapsed one summer evening a few years back.
Seemingly you have reached the 'middle of nowhere' when you pass Komako Church- but the grounds are kept immaculately, and an Anglican Service is still held here 2-3 times per month.
On my return journey driving down Pohangina Rd from its northern end, I truly did feel like I was in very isolated parts. The road was narrow and winding, and I was hoping I never met an oncoming vehicle. And I did have reason to hope at one point that I hadn't repeated my West Coast Incident and ventured onto a cycle track! But all was fine!
This might not be a road that we city dwellers venture along often, but there were lots of sheep, lambs and steers to let you know farming families were close near by.
The countryside up in the Pohangina Valley is quite magical. The hills have all kinds of shapes, and often you are traveling up a steepish hill, only to come down again soon to cross a bridge over the next stream.
The noise from this last hill was horrendous. I thought the lambs and ewes must have been separated for weaning, but no, they were still together on the hillside. (Maybe there was a sheep yard hidden nearby that the noise was coming from).
It was strange to come back downhill again onto a wider, sealed road. I had been 'in the wilds' and then I was returning to 'civilisation'. My break from city life had only been a brief illusion after all.
But I must come back again soon. There are more old shearing sheds to be found...