Monday, December 22, 2014

Downtown Palmy

Sitting downtown under the shade of a tree- relaxing into holiday mode.

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...