Sunday, April 01, 2018

Walking in town

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.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Labour Day roadie in Manawatu

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...

Sunday, October 22, 2017

by-the-wind sailors at Himatangi Beach

During the week I had read about the jellyfish 'invasion' on the south coast in Wellington, but I wasn't expecting to see zillions of them at Himatangi Beach this morning. Lying everywhere were these stranded jellyfish of a kind I hadn't seen before, though every so often there was a large bluebottle in their midst, complete with stinging tentacles. For once, I left my sandals on for the whole beach walk.

Back home I found an article in the Taranaki Daily News that described them up in New Plymouth. Apparently they are smelly, but as I have a cold still, I couldn't smell them!
It was a very windy day at the beach, and the first stretch of the walk down to the water was harder than usual as so much dry moving sand had been banked up on the usual 'road' down to the water. Heaps of driftwood had been blown back up the stream to where they had installed posts to stop it going any further. A couple of hardy whitebaiters were installed by the mouth of the stream.
 There were a few large blue jellyfish on the beach,


but mostly it was these smaller creatures that had become detritus at the high tide mark. Their distribution was variable- it seemed to depend on how the waves washed in.
There were mainly jellyfish of the by-the-wind sailors or velella kind, that don't sting, and there was also a small amount of seaweed on the beach. Here is a piece of kelp, not so commonly washed up on this beach.
 In some places by the high tide mark they were absolutely prolific- and I found it hard to select a driftwood log to sit on for a wee rest before I walked back...
 Sometimes seaweed trapped jellyfish within its branches. 
As I sat on a large log high up the beach, an old man started picking his way over the sand dunes, then down onto the beach, using his two walking sticks. I guess he lives nearby and comes down here everyday.
As I walked back along the beach, the tide was coming in quite quickly. The gap between the jellyfish borne on the waves, and the jellyfish left lying high up the beach by the last full-tide, was growing quite narrow.
This beach is always different- affected by the wind or other weather in some way.  I wonder how it will look next time?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Homeward Bound


So it was my last morning. I remembered back to Tuesday a week ago at my first breakfast when I felt so welcomed by the staff- so genuinely kind, and it was obvious they were looking out for me as I was on my own- such a foreign concept for Samoans that I had come without partner or family or friends.
I started the morning with an early time out snorkelling, one last time on that beautiful beach.


I said goodbye to the staff, and we were off to the airport in a full shuttle.
I saw a couple of steep hills that I hadn't seen in the dark on the arrival journey. I know there is so much more to explore on these beautiful islands, but for this time, relaxing at a resort has been perfect.

Within about half an hour we had arrived at the airport, and departures, unlike arrivals, is in a very flash modern building. I wonder if they have had foreign aid for its construction. 

Not too many departures today...



The incoming flight arrived on time. 


And now I am homeward bound. It's been a wonderful holiday. The staff at Return to Paradise resort are family, and staying there was like being a guest in a very hospitable home. They were always solicitous that you were happy. And they were quick to notice what you might need. And the beach was such a beautiful one. It was a perfect, relaxing holiday. 
After meeting such welcoming people in Samoa, it was a bit of a shock to meet the grumpy serious man at immigration stamping my passport as I left. Surely he could still do his job with a more cheerful farewell!

And that is pretty much the end of this current sequence of posts... so until next time- Ka kite ano.