Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our First Family Tramp - Hakarimata Reserve

Today we set off on our first family tramp. We looked at a Department of Conservation leaflet and picked an easy looking hike, which said it would be flat and only an hour return. Perfect, for we first timers. So we packed some water, a light lunch, etc and off we set. As we drove along the road, that would lead to the beginning of the walk we had initially chosen, we saw a signpost for another trek, which looked quite interesting. "The Kauri Loop".  The sign at the entrance said that it would be a 40 minute walk to view the large Kauri Tree and that it was perfectly suitable for families. There were also a couple of other options, a 3km/2hour loop of the summit (which also took in the trees), or a 7 1/2 or 8 hour hike which ended up who knows where, like I was going to even remotely consider that!

These are the girls before setting off. (Note the summit in the background!)

L to R are The Pig, Fashionista and Agent Smelly entering the reserve. Those steps and wire fencing on each side are to keep wild animals out to stop them rooting around and disturbing the Kauri trees. Frankly I should have turned back then ...

These are the first lot of steps we encountered (the girls are at the top). How was I to know that these steps went on, and on, and on, and on, right to the top of the summit. Yes the summit, that's right despite my misgivings the other three voted and decided at the Kauri Grove turn off, that they wanted to keep going up and do the whole loop. So with strong misgivings (can you hear me moaning a bit here) I trudged on.

It took us an hour of steps, and steps and steps, and then even more steps again before we hit the summit. If I am honest here, I should admit that I was the one who held us back, and that the other three probably would have done it in far less time. Agent Smelly did tell me though, that she was not enjoying the steps either. I do love that child! Fashionista on the other hand, bounced up the stairs like a puppy on crack. I was tempted to give her a little shove over the side of the mountain when she enthusiastically kept bouncing back up and down the stairs, to see where I was and wanting to help me keep up. Wait til she's old, and out of shape!

Despite, blurred vision and loss of breath I did manage to take note of the many native trees, palms and ferns along the way. They were really quite lovely.

The only person we saw on the walk was an elderly gentleman, (who The Pig kindly pointed out was taking the walk far more easily than I was) who passed us on one of our rest stops. I think he wisely just did the Kauri Grove as we never saw him again and his car was gone when we returned to ours.
This picture was taken mid point, whilst I could still focus on things in front of me. It is looking back towards Huntly. We live about 15 minutes further North of Huntly, just follow the Waikato River.

Here are the fitter members of the family showing their joy at reaching the summit ... show offs! Sadly it started to drizzle a bit so I couldn't get any clear pictures of the views, which were great.

This picture shows The Mama reaching the summit. OK I admit I was hamming it up for the camera, well just a wee bit.

We started back down the mountain (can I call it that?) and stopped to view a big Rimu tree. Sadly the drizzle then turned into an absolute downpour which lasted for 25 minutes! The Pig and I gave our jackets to the kids and we all kept going. We ended up absolutely soaked through. There was not one spot on us that was dry; walking in wet knickers is not to be recommended!  We were having no trouble hiking down the mountain side and simply kept going despite the rain. Between fits of laughter and comments over whose silly idea this tramp was and how crazy must we be, I did point out, in the nicest possible way of course, that had they listened to me we'd have been sitting dryly in the car by now and not trekking down a mountain in the rain! It did make the trip down a lot quicker and funnier than it would have been otherwise though. These are what memories are made of I suppose.

Here's Fashionista, once the rain had stopped; note the soggy pants and top. And to think they had been wearing jackets!  For modesty sake there could be no pictures taken of me in my t-shirt after the rain started, need I say more.

By this stage we were at the Kauri Grove but were still yet to get to the big, old Kauri.

We finally made it to the giant 600 year old Kauri, and here are the soggy girls standing in front of it. It's circumference, when last measured, was 7 metres. It's a majestic tree and we are lucky to still have it, as most were felled from the area so many years ago before we knew better.  Kauri's aren't the tallest of trees but you can get the most timber from them which is why we have a shortage of them.

It wasn't too much farther til we were back at the car. The light lunch we had taken to have along the walk was uneaten, due to the downpour. It was just too wet to stop and eat along the way and as we were now soaking wet we decided it would be easier to simply head home and get everyone out of their wet gear and into hot showers and have lunch when we were dry and warm.

I am happy to point out, that despite The Pig complaining that we'd probably be spending the night in the forest due to my slow progress up the steps (am so not a fan of the steps people!), we did complete our first trek in the 2 hours they recommended.  And despite the aches and pains and the heavy downpour we all had a fun time. Ask me tomorrow after the aches and pains settle in and it may be a different story.
(This was the No 12 Nature Trail from the Natural Attractions of the Waikato District Brochure.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ice Skating

For a limited time during the Rugby World Cup an outdoor ice-skating arena was set up in Hamilton. We thought this would be a great event to take our local GirlGuides to. So on the 17th October, during the school holidays, we arranged to take about 20 girls into Hamilton for some ice skating.  When I mentioned the outing to a nearby unit, Bombay GirlGuides, they asked if they could also come along with us, so about 9 of their girls joined us also too. It started off a little chilly but after a short time on the ice, they all started removing their jackets, hats and gloves.

 Despite never having skated before The Fashionista gave it a good go and did really well.

Agent Smelly started off a little trepidatious but soon was trying to get around the rink unaided.
She didn't quite last as long as the older girls as she really got tired out after a while.

The Pig (above with Agent Smelly) also had the day off so joined us on the ice.
He was very useful at the playground pushing the girls on the big tyre swing.

We spent just under 2 hours skating and then headed off to the Hamilton Lake to eat our packed lunches and then the girls got to play and muck about on the playground. All the girls had a great time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hmmm ... what on earth am I doing?

Well I have avidly been following a number of blogs this year and also spending a little too much time on Facebook ... so I thought it about time that I started my own blog for my nearest and dearests to keep up with our news.  Although frankly am not sure how much interesting stuff there will be to put on here. Oh well, at least I know my mum will read it even if no-one else can bothered with my ramblings. Not because I am her adored only daughter, but because two of her many grandkids will be featured on here.
Well here goes nothing, lets see if I get this first posting right.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I am fortunate enough to have one of those precious children who love to leave notes around for you.

Just found on my laptop, a little handmade card in a handmade envelope saying "Dear Mum, I love you so much, just so much. Love Samara Jean"

She's a keeper!
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