Today was an absolutely gorgeous day here in the Manawatu - the kind that makes you think summer is actually about to arrive!
So, as I have done a few times in recent months, I headed out to the Manawatu Gorge for some serious Camino training. Today I planned to walk to the third lookout and back, about 5-6 hours worth. You can see from this first photo that the powers-that-be do take this walk seriously as a recreational opportunity for local people: they have made the start of the track go underneath the road for safety. (Mind you, they never 'bridged' the road itself especially - the hills along this side of the Gorge are very unstable geologically - and the only reason this road can go through at all is that it is largely made of 'bridges'.)
The first third of the track has been 'gentrified' to make it more suitable for more walkers. But then you get to the 'tree root' stuff - a standard part of much NZ bush walking - and a part I love.
This is the recently constructed "Sentinel lookout." Like any viewing platform made by DOC since the Cave Creek tragedy, it is very sturdy. For the first time I actually encountered no wind here and the sun was beating down. It would have been nice just to stay put!
And you do get wonderful views from this lookout. This is looking back down the Gorge towards Ashhurst.
The last lookout, Windy lookout, was not windy today either, and I nearly went to sleep there in the sunshine. Shame the yellow flowers are foreign invaders as they looked great in some photos!
Had to make myself get up. Actually the whole walk I had been feeling not so good. (Nothing to do with the 'night before' I assure you all!) Only a few weeks ago I had climbed up here and felt fine. Today from the outset, the hill climbing seemed steeper, longer and harder. Good practice for climbing out of Le Puy in April I told myself. (Then I freaked a little when I realised in only about two months time I would need to be training up these hills with my big pack on instead of my day pack.) To cut a long story short here, I felt increasingly wobbly and not-so-good on the way back, until I *lost* my lunch. At which point I felt a little better. Ah well, I guess I might have days like this in France too, when I wonder why-the-heck-I-ever-thought this might be a Good Idea!
Anyhow, it was clear when I looked at my photos of the trip that I had not been 100%. A lot of them were *rubbish* and were quickly deleted. This one of the stream though I retained.... I felt it was almost Monet-impressionism like!
Last river view, back near the carpark, was of this jetski. I usually harbour thoughts of vengeance towards jetskiers, with their 'noise pollution' of quiet spots. But to be fair, the carpark is adjacent to a main road so is hardly in a 'quiet spot' anyhow! But I did still wonder if this guy knew he was approaching the shallows I could see from above. It seemed that he did, and my vengeful thoughts came to naught!
Anyhow, back home, I had an urge to drink fizzy fruit juice which I did. And the lawns remained unmowed while I had a siesta. And now I feel much better. So I guess it will be work as usual tomorrow after all!!!