Saturday, December 06, 2014

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Palmy Walkways Circuit

Those of you familiar with Palmerston North city, on the Manawatu Plains, might think it's quite hard to do any walking training on hills close to home. But in fact, there are walkways on the edge of town that serve this very purpose. Summerhill Drive leads uphill from the bridge, on what was an old river terrace. There are quite a few ups and downs nearby that have been skilfully turned into well used walkways.

This is the circuit I followed on Saturday- yes, yet another windy day- using a combo of the PN city walkways.

 It made for a 10km walk with a few hilly bits to climb.
I parked my car on the city side of the bridge, then headed towards Massey, where I passed this beautiful flower - lit up in a slither of sunlight on what was mainly an overcast and very windy day.


I am sure you have seen versions of the rest of these photos before on my blog. But it is amazing how the changing seasons and the weather- whether it be sunlight, wind, drizzle, clouds-  can give each scene quite a different 'feel'.

On a dull day these trees look so forbidding in winter, but with spring leaves and a wet path, they look almost enchanting.
 I could smell the bush here with the wet earth from yesterday's rainfall.

 And I always love the little footbridges over the Turitea Stream down at the Massey end.

 I've taken multiple photos of this power pylon as you approach a playground near Clifton Drive- but always the skies and the light are different.

 These kind of dark pines now bring back memories of immersion in some forests on the Cluny walk.

 I love this panorama heading down towards Old West Road- and the cloud even lifted to let some sunshine through onto the scene.

 This old disconnected fence post always has me wondering about its past life and purpose.

 And here is the panorama at the high point of this walk, looking towards the northern end of the Tararua Ranges.

Tis the season for flax spikes to emerge and come into flower. There was an abundance of this smaller species near a small lake by the Pacific College, and the tuis were flying around there in numbers as well, enjoying the food source. I will be able to watch as the season progresses, and the seed heads begin to form. Walking helps you notice the 'little things' that bring joy.

Back on the OTGK circuit!

I never got started on as much training as intended, as the promising spring weather in September turned to nasty stuff in October/November. So much Wind in particular, driving us all insane! However, time has been marching on, so I decided on the weekend of 16 November that I had to go on a decent long walk whatever the weather. I packed my goretex raincoat, and my woolen hat and gloves, and by 8am I was out on the road, ready to hit my old OldWest-Turitea-Greens-Kahuterawa Circuit of about 20km.
Heading up Turitea Road towards the ominous looking clouds
It was a windy beginning, and the clouds looked ominous- but in fact the weather wasn't too bad after all. The roads had so many twists and turns, and the terrain was so hilly, that much of the time I was sheltered from the worst of the winds.

Some of the animals were quite curious/alarmed to see me pass by.



The 'real' climbing on Turitea Rd began once I had passed the turn-off to the water treatment plant., but I have walked this road many times now in 'training', and know how it goes...

My favourite section of this part of the walk is when the metal part of Turitea Road narrows to a track, surrounded on both sides by mainly native plants. This tree fern was putting on a wonderful display of fronds, and they were all at 'my height' since the tree itself was perched down a steep bank.

I was wearing my new pair of Merrell walking shoes. (My last pair was well and truly worn out in 2012, and I was lucky they held together as far as Santiago.) At the 10km mark, as I emerged from Turitea Road onto Green's Road, I sat down for some lunch, and stripped off my new shoes for a breather.

At this point I was starting to feel quite cocky, as if all this was a trifle easy, and that 10km had been nothing, and that all I needed for training was a few stiff hill climbs. But reality was about to hit home. There were more hilly bits of road to walk up when I restarted, and I had to really coax my muscles into action! Of course, I was nearly 10km from my car, so actually had no option but to keep going...


I love this high point along Green's Rd where I can look back and see where I have come from. A few metres in the other direction and you look down onto the flats of the Manawatu Plains and out to sea. What you can't see in this photo is how very windy it suddenly became at this point as I was briefly exposed to the full brunt of the winds, and holding the camera still for any kind of photo became quite a mission!

The hardest part of the day was over by now. I descended from here down to Kahuterawa Rd. Then, with four kilometres to go, I felt some 'hot spots' on my heels, and knew I was getting a couple of blisters because of my new shoes. You'd think, with all my walking experience, I would have taken some plasters to slap on some protection, but no.... However, I survived back to the car, though I was glad I didn't have to go out and walk the next day as well!

I loved the walk. This whole circuit is so rural, and I remember from my previous two training times (2007-8 and 2011-12) that one of the joys of this route is seeing the seasonal changes. I will walk this route a few times in summer, and will see the changes into autumn before I leave home for Assisi- where of course spring will be beginning...


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Training has started....

In 25 weeks time, I will be heading onto the walking trails near Assisi for ten days, and the time has come to start upping my amount of physical exercise. The weather this weekend has been very kind for such endeavours.

Yesterday (Saturday) I did another variation on the city walkways, starting from the bridge again. I headed up Turitea Walkway as far as Springdale Grove- then across to join the Summerhill Drive trails coming downhill. Knowing the route so well now, I knew how to cut across a field to rejoin the route just below this seat.


My friend Strava kindly told me I had walked 5.3km.  (I have fallen in love with Strava.)


Today was another glorious day, and calm, so I decided a bike ride along the Manawatu River track would be in order. Strava told me this was 16km.


Once I reached the Esplanade, I enjoyed seeing all the little ducklings again.

And now I am home enjoying some final relaxation before school starts again tomorrow...

Holidays

Well, the holidays are coming to an end- and I had a relaxing and enjoyable break. Things started off with a steam train trip from Feilding to Taihape- very well run, and a chance to indulge in some nostalgia. My father had been a guard on the railways, and I remember the steam train running past our place in Waitara when I was a child, before the switch to diesel.


Week 1 involved catching up on paperwork, and tidying up the school desk, shelves and cupboards that had become waaayyyy too messy. Then Thursday of that week I was off to Wellington for WOW, which was truly amazing. The staging for each segment of the competition was wonderful- the technical side of it was very impressive. Such creativity and expertise.

Even doing marking etc I wasn't alone at home. This tui kept visiting the kowhai tree and singing its heart out.

On Saturday I was invited to the wedding of a Bhutanese couple who came to NZ from a refugee camp in Nepal, and there were lots of siblings and cousins there from amongst the children at school. Beautiful event.

Two of my nieces came to stay for Week 2, and that gave me an excuse for all sorts of childhood expeditions, like a ride on the train in the Esplanade.


I couldn't interest the girls in staying up late to see the eclipse of the moon- but I watched, until things clouded over once the moon had turned red.

 And there was time to have friends around for a fancy afternoon tea in my 'new' kitchen.

And now it is time to turn my thinking back to my class of children at school....

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Wellington for WOW

I've come to Wellington for the Wearable Art Awards and had a few hours to wander the streets this arvo. Weather forecast was pretty bad but the sun was even shining when I arrived. So far the gales and rain have held off but I got some 'grey' photos. Quite a contrast from my recent weekend visit here when the weather was just brilliant.

The hotel is very close to the waterfront and the Arena where WOW will be held, so I headed straight down there, and was greeted by this pair of aliens. (Wellington is always full of surprises.)

...More sculpture I hadn't seen before...

I saw the police launch come in and tie up at the wharf.

It's interesting how in the dull light you notice things you don't see in the sunshine. There were a whole lot of plaques I had never read before.

People were out walking by the harbour even in the grey, some making joyful music.

And this friend stands waiting patiently in all weathers.

Back in town I saw this statue to Katherine Mansfield.

 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mt Vic on a glorious day

Who could've guessed what a glorious day Sunday would be. First off I returned to the harbour for the market, and besides some healthy veges, I bought a banana cake to take round to my sister's place. (And very yum it was!)
 My man by Te Papa was looking over a dead calm harbour. Exquisite.

 And hopefully the BlueBridge passengers were pleasantly surprised by the calm all the way to Picton...

It was my plan to drive to the top of Mt Victoria, then drive past some of the bays. It was to be an exploring kind of morning. In the event, in the calm, sunny conditions I was seduced by the views from Mt Vic, and spent quite a bit of time up there.

 This gun wasn't a war memorial: it was dragged up here by some soldiers so people could hear it and know the time. This was in the early days of the settlement, when watches were a rarity.

 Up the top of Mt Vic I got the best understanding I've ever had of how the suburbs all fit together. Over this way is the Basin Reserve and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

 There were lots of plaques up top describing legends and history- and these facts about the fault lines through here I would prefer not to remember when I am in Wellington!

 From on high, I could see the Oriental Bay fountain- in dead calm seas...

 And you could see planes landing and leaving the airport.

 Once I headed downhill again, not entirely sure where I was headed, I arrived at Lyall Bay, where I had a short walk along the shore.

 And just past Lyall Bay, I watched this plane coming into land.

My final 'bay' stop was Island Bay. Now I know why it's called "Island"!

From there I headed back inland to reach Wilton, where we devoured some of that banana cake. And when I left Wellington, it was still calm and sunny.  I'll come again, and try and pick another "Wellington on a good day..."