Sunday, February 22, 2015

Exploring in Wellington Pt2

Back from a drive around some bays, I took a wander down Lyall Bay again, plus a little further south along the road, and just as the sun was losing its hold on the bay, I walked back. I won't elaborate- but here are some Lyall Bay photos...

Exploring in Wellington Pt1

This weekend I came to Wellington for a special event, and am so pleased I stayed an extra night to breathe in some sea air. As it happened Wellington was really full on Friday night, with the NZ-England cricket game, and national swimming champs. So instead of staying in a more central part of town I had to venture out. Turns out that was a real blessing. I am in the Airport Motel in Lyall Bay. The room is quite small, but oh what a view over Lyall Bay. Heaven is...

Last night's event was also sea-front, at The Pines in Houghton Bay. Here's a family photo - rarely is such a thing included in this blog- but I love the silhouettes!

This morning I woke much earlier than planned so took a walk to Kilbirnie, somewhere I hadn't wandered before. Here are a few photos from along the way.

I finished with a walk back along Lyall Bay. Next it was time for a drive around some bays, and I headed down via Moa Point. Some showers were to intervene for a while.
 Here is the Interislander heading for the South Island. I was stunned by how many times I saw ferries today but I guess locals get used to it.

The rain ended though, and some sailors took to the water.

I stopped for the first time ever at the famous cafe at Scorching Bay, and indulged in a hot chocolate.

One of the 'ships' on a mural at Scorching Bay.

And to finish this part of the blog post, here is the Bluebridge Ferry heading out of the harbour.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

OTGK Circuit

It's just under seven weeks now before I leave for Italy and my walk in Umbria, on some of the (hilly) trails of St Francis, and yesterday it was time for some 'distance' walking. So it was back to my circuit on Old West- Turitea- Greens - Kahuterawa Rds. (Last time I did it you can read about here.)

I started earlyish in case it got hotter than predicted, and had the reward of some beautiful patterns of sunlight on the clouds.

When I walked the Camino, there came times when I felt like I was taking too many photos of 'signs'- as they seemed so interesting. But back home, out of the walking context, I wished I had taken more 'signs' photos. Here is one on today's route- and I wonder what 'signs' I will bring back from Italy. I won't be shy about taking too many!

Here is another sky/early sunlight photo from along Old West Rd- a beautiful time of day to be out walking. It looks fairly 'dry', but we actually were rescued from even drier conditions by very heavy rain in the last two weeks.

I saw some 'striders' set out ahead of me along Turitea Rd. I never caught up to them and soon enough they were out of sight completely!

Trees against the sky always catch my eye...

Our little rural bridges are such a lifeline for people down these roads. 

It's getting hillier as I come near the end of Turitea Rd- and these sheep are definitely suspicious of me...

Another tree/cloud/light combo. The clouds and the light interplayed the whole day in unpredictable ways. One of the treasures of being in an island nation.

The dryness of the hills is evident- though much greener no doubt after recent rain.

The climb after the water treatment station on Turitea Rd was accompanied by Higgins' action today- they are adding new gravel to the road surface.

And all the familiar joys where there- fern fronds against the sky.

Summer was clearly a time for spider nests- saw many.

And the lichen still looked wonderful on these fence posts near the top of the Turitea Rd climb.

I did the 'Camino thing' and took my shoes and socks off for a breather when I had a rest/refreshment stop after 10km. The wind was whistling through at this point- always interesting which angles of the Green's Rd walk catch the wind. But I quite liked the feeling of the cold breeze on my bare feet.

Here is a view looking down Green's Rd.

Lots of thistles were in flower today- and bumble bees never seemed to be far away from them.

At the high point on Green's Rd I always love the view down to the plains below. The summer colours seemed especially vibrant today.

A feather caught on the roadside verge...

More tree/clouds action, this time on Kahuterawa Rd as I near the end of the day's walk. 

And a final sign. After some huge grass fires on rural properties recently, there is a total fire ban in place...

And for the nerds like me, I have recorded the altitudes of the walk using Strava. It fascinated me that the App was able to keep recording GPS coordinates even in the places where I lost internet connection. And Strava was very light on data usage. Feels like a lot of climbing on the last segment of Turitea Rd, and along Green's Rd- but actually I reach a higher altitude (400m) on the Gorge track- where most of the rest of my training is likely to be...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Esplanade Wander

Today I decided would be a lazy day before I have to ramp up the effort for school again. I spent more than the morning (ummm yes until about 3pm) reading the Camino book given to me by a family at the end of last year- "Travels with my donkey: One man and his ass on a pilgrimage to Santiago" by Tim Moore. I had read a library copy before I went on the Camino in 2008- in fact I may have read it before I even decided to go on the Camino... I enjoyed the book back then, but I absolutely loved reading it this time around. With the Camino 'under my belt' I was able to have such a clear picture in my mind of the places the author was going to with his donkey- and he made me laugh so much! And as happens with pilgrims, I was so happy to find he/they 'made it'. (Also, it was intriguing to see how much the pilgrim 'infrastructure' of albergues etc had developed in the few years between our walks.)

After my great lie-in I decided to have a quick walk in the Esplanade, always a place to enjoy the season's flowers. So here are some of the plants in the sunshine:

The Manawatu River is very low at present. We really have had little rain for months. Even when we were all moaning about our windy, grey spring, we really lacked rainfall. 

I checked out the 'butterfly' section of the garden. There were a few monarch butterflies fluttering around- but there were huge numbers of caterpillars competing for the diminishing supply of food on the swan plants. It seemed that many must be nearly big enough to make that transition into the J shape and then a chrysalis quite soon...

A place I don't tend to wander into often is the rose garden- and of course it looked magnificent in there today in the sunshine, with all the roses in full bloom...