Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beehive Creek

Today I joined PNTMC for a family walk on the Beehive Creek walkway, up in the Pohangina Valley.

Lovely views were had across the valley to the Ruahine Ranges behind as we started off. The forecast was for plenty of warm sunshine, and it certainly felt warm as we first headed up the road so we could make a circuit.

We weren't the only ones out enjoying the day: we were passed by quite a few vintage cars out on a rural rally. It came time to head off the road and up the hill on farmland. Felt very warm making that climb, and I was the slowest...... I am always the slowest up the hills.....but I don't think I was as slow as last time I made this climb two years ago.
I was reminded as I climbed of the lovely walker from the mountains of Grenoble, who passed me heading up the steep road out of Montbonnet last April. She was sticking with me, but I told her to go ahead, as I knew I was holding her up. She kindly replied with the French understanding that 'each person has their own rhythm' that always makes you feel better when you are the slowest!

Once we had descended the hill we all gathered under a shady tree for a rest and drinks of water. Someone produced some "Buzz Bars" since we were on the Beehive Creek track.... And here Doug demonstrates the only kind of snake you get in New Zealand - edible ones!!

It was a great day out, with all ages on the tramp. Here a very young tramper descends from the stile. Who knows where this young one will choose to go in the future?!

Much of the last part of the walk was down the stream itself. It was just heaven splashing through the water, which was actually quite low, and warm. I caught sight of this native koura in the stream bed. Maybe it wasn't in the best condition, being out in the daytime, and with the water temperature as it was. If you want to know more about koura though, here are some links, from DOC, RSNZ, NZ freshwater org, and a photo from the Rimutaka Trust.

After the big splash-along, we collected our lunch and found a shady spot to enjoy our lunch in the nearby picnic ground. Then we headed home, but not before the tramper's traditional cone icecream treat from the Ashhurst shop ;-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Out on my old 'training' route in the sunshine

This has been an awfully lazy holiday. And I haven't exactly been up early often. So when I decided that today was the day I would walk my old 'training' circuit, Old West-Turitea-Greens-Kahuterawa Rds, I knew I would have to set the alarm to get up early enough to beat the heat at the end of my walk.

The alarm came as an awful shock before 6am. I had prepared my day pack yesterday evening, so somewhere in my befuddled brain I knew I was off out walking, but somehow I forgot I was at home, and in my confused state I was trying to work out exactly which village in France or Spain I was in, and what day it was....etc.....

I set off with the early morning sunshine, and after an hour or so I met the traffic on Turitea Rd starting the journey to work. And shortly after that I became desperate for a cafe in the next local village where I could get a cola kao con leche. No such luck on the rural New Zealand route I was on of course!!
I was glad to reach upper Turitea then Greens Rd, where I got to climb. I had forgotten quite how steep some of these climbs were. But I see now why they stood me in good stead when I had to climb up and down so much in the early days from Le Puy.
The first part of the climbing was in lovely shady bush, but later on the walk became more exposed to the sunshine.

After three hours walking I felt quite tired!! But a circuit is a circuit, and I was only just over halfway. I sat down on the grass verge for a snack, enjoying the hill view. At least I didn't have to worry about snakes in the grass here at home, just the odd cowpat or two.

After four hours walking I received my 'reward': at the high point along Greens Rd you suddenly emerge to this view over the Manawatu Plains. I remembered walking here not too long after I arrived home one winter's day, when it was bitterly cold, wet and windy along here, and I needed to don all my warm layers. Today by comparison, it was obvious from the outset I had much more need of sunscreen and a sunhat and plenty of water to drink.

Lovely blue skies, and warm and calm today.

I thought I caught sight of the red under-feathers of a kaka swooping by.
And finally I was into the home stretch down Kahuterawa Rd. We used to have a Camino saying that the last four kms is the hardest, no matter whether you walk 14km or 28km. Today I walked about 20km at a guess. And the last four kms did feel like the hardest! The soles of my feet are not quite as accustomed to walking as they were just a few months ago!!
But ahhhhhh........ it was a lovely summer's day!

Postscript: Next day: I didn't wake before 6am today- without benefit of the alarm I was back in holiday mode and it was nearly 8am. My muscles are also a bit stiff, unaccustomed as I am to regular long walks now!!!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

OK just cos we are 'early' here to welcome in the New Year.... here are some photos from how we rocked in New Year 2009 in Palmerston North Square.

There was a great party in the Square in downtown Palmie, and the crowd had a really good vibe. Lots of families, lots of people of all ages. First photo is of the two 'vocalists' from Abba Addiction who started singing soon after I arrived, about the same time as a shower of rain arrived at about quarter to eleven. Fortunately, the rain never came to anything much.
By the way, all these performance shots are taken via the wonderful big screen.....I couldn't see the stage for all the young ones dancing;-)

With about twenty minutes to go before midnight, the act shifted to a group called Sound Workshop from Hamilton. They'd performed earlier in the evening as well I gather, before I arrived, and were back on stage by popular demand. They rocked!

They were really energetic and a whole lot of fun to watch and listen to.
Their drummer enjoyed turning on a show.
And this vocalist seemed to really enjoy what she was doing.

It seemed no time before the countdown clock was whirring it over for the last minute of 2009 in our part of the world.
And then the fireworks began from the top of the Council Building. Such an ugly building usually...... nice to see it can look attractive for once.

And then when the fireworks were done, Sound Workshop took to the stage again so everyone could rock on!