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.
Just a few days after that perfect sunshine-y day at the weekend, today was quite a different day in the Gorge. I put on my new raincoat, my Goretex walking shoes, and took my walking poles. It was wet and muddy and I loved it.
My new raincoat kept me gloriously dry as it rained the whole way up the hill to the statue. My goretex shoes- which I don't wear often as I fear they might become too warm- kept my socks dry even when I sloshed deliberately in some puddles! And the walking poles helped me to avoid slipping over in the muddy sections. (Truly, I was just a big kid again...)
Here are a few photos from a wetter walk. The wee 'waterfall' at the beginning/end of the walk is barely even there during a typical dry summer.
After several walks based around the Turitea Walkway, it was time to up the hill-level with a Gorge walk. I have started with the Tawa Loop- and yes I did puff up the hills, but it wasn't as tough as I was expecting! I have blogged about it on my 'main' blog.
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...
Went for another walkway walk this morning- the second walk this week on the Turitea Walkway system. Today I started from the Bledisloe carpark and went to Old West Rd- then returned with a diversion to find the steps from near Fergusson House. I wanted to check out their steepness before trying them uphill- and yes they are very steep. I might stick to the Atawhai steps a bit further along. I am not at all a steps fan, but these would seem to be a useful 'after work' kind of activity when I don't have much time mid-week.
So today's route was 6.47km, and although the ascents aren't too long, the route does keep going up and down...
Five months out now. Time to get into more hill walking, and some longer walks. Used a city walkway combo from Springdale Grove yesterday- up to Old West Rd, then along to Turitea Rd before heading in behind IPU and back downhill again. 5.3km and a few hilly bits.
Last week bookings opened for the Great Walks. I couldn't go online until 90 minutes after they had opened.
Luckily I found that the Routeburn bookings still had the dates I wanted. I will be at Lake MacKenzie hut on Christmas Day!
As I had expected, Milford was already well booked out by then- so the expensive guided walk I have booked was in fact necessary to do the walk at all....
So now the uphill training has to start. June/July it will be city walkways mainly- including repeated step climbs that are usually a 'no no' in my fitness books! August/September I will be doing lots of Gorge walking. And October/November I will have to challenge myself with more serious uphill stuff like Rangiwahia Hut.
So today I just did a short section of Turitea Walkway- from the start up to Springdale Grove and return.
I didn't know Strava did combos with satellite pics but now I do! I quite like this perspective.
And here are today's elevations.
This is what I like most about Strava- the elevations. I have been having problems with the Strava App- but today I made sure I closed every other open app before I began- and made absolutely sure the initial GPS signal was strong- and all seemed to record well...
There is something appropriate about the symbolism here. Today I realised that I will be walking the Milford Track when the longest day arrives... and I walked today as the shortest day comes closer. So there are six months now to wind up the pace of my training. Good thing is, soon there will be more weekday daylight time for exercise. Having had a few issues with Strava lately- the GPS recording of my track has been quite random- I switched to MapMyWalk. Accurate. Haven't checked the website yet to see if it breaks down the walk in any other ways. I must admit I quite liked the way Strava could tell if I was on a go-slow taking photos or having a drink stop, and could adjust speed for that.
I guess I really am one for seeing the seasons progress.... so here are some more autumn pics from the Esplanade. I went on a very similar walk to last weekend, but from the other direction. It was just over 3km- so as I suspected/knew, for some reason Strava didn't record my whole walk last weekend. I know it's a free app and all that- but I think it used to be more reliable in the past than it is presently.
There are still roses blooming in the rose gardens, and various other blooms in the Esplanade gardens.
I love the Peter Black Conservatory- whatever the season there seem to be some surprises to see indoors. It isn't a huge conservatory, but it has some fascinating plants.
And outdoors there were lots of signs of autumn. It was a dull day, but the autumn leaves still brought colour.
Across the river, some bare trees are already announcing winter is near...
Near the end of my walk, I noticed this sign. Strangely enough, I had never noticed it before...
Another autumn walk, taking in more of the river path this time. There wasn't any sunlight for the photos- but in another week (or two) I am aware the leaves might be mostly gone from some of these trees. The day didn't look all that inviting from my bedroom, but it was actually warm enough, and the rain didn't happen. (Maybe if I hadn't taken my raincoat it would have poured down...
(Strava still doesn't seem quite right at present. My pace in the first km was slower than that, but also I walked further along the river track, then returned, before I headed up stairs to the carpark by the train shed. Not sure why that bit doesn't even show. I am pretty sure I walked more like 3km.)
The piles are in place for the new cycle/walkway over the river onto a path that will eventually go as far as Linton.
Soon the cherry trees will be bare until spring time arrives again...
Footnote: After this walk I had a special event to go to- a workshop for World Dance Day- organised by Tania Kopytko with an Indian Dance teacher, and a Nepali dancer. So interesting, and such a lovely group to be part of for two hours. But I was tuckered out in the evening!