Mount Climie

With a few days left before I start work I’ve been taking some time to get outside. Today I went out past Upper Hutt to walk up the Mount Climie track. Accessed from the Tunnel Gully area of Pakuratahi Forest the gravel road provides service access to communication equipment at the summit. The track is steep, I wasn’t really prepared for the relentless upward grind and it didn’t take long before I was sweating profusely. It’s a 600m ascent and just over 11kms return. About half way up the surrounding forest changed to predominately beech and became much more interesting to look at with lots of native birds. It was nice to take my mind off the constant trudging to watch families of rifleman flitting through the trees.

Hitting the cloud level

Hitting the cloud level

Further interest was then provided by the low cloud level adding a misty fog to the forest. The higher I ascended the more wind there was and the swirling mist was great to watch during my frequent rest stops. After an hour and a half I came across the first of the communication towers. There are towers for TV transmission, cellular communication and apparently something for the NZ Police as well. There are two trigs, the first at 830m and the second at 860m. From the first trig the landscape changes again with the track following an exposed ridgeline that occasionally is snow-covered (some photos of that can be seen here). Not in the middle of summer but for my visit the cloud level was such that there were no views, just wind and white all around. It was eerie to be alone on the summit track, at times it was like something out of a horror movie (The Mist anyone?) but thankfully there were no scary or unexplained events. I ate lunch in a sheltered area by the trig and then spent the return trip taking my time, enjoying the general lack of climbing and taking a lot of photos.

The first trig

The first trig

Made it to the top!

Made it to the top!

The track disappears

The track disappears

Wind sculpts the summit vegetation

Wind sculpts the summit vegetation

A rata stump, the summit rata apparently all killed by possums

A rata stump, the summit rata apparently all killed by possums

On the set of a horror movie?

On the set of a horror movie?

More foggy infrastructure

More foggy infrastructure

Goblin forest

Goblin forest

A mountain cabbage tree

A mountain cabbage tree

All up it was around 4 hours return including my lunch and photo stops. I think it’ll be a few years before I take Alayna up there, she’ll need some practice on shorter climbs first. There is a definite sense of achievement in reaching the summit and I think I’d be more interested in regular visits if it wasn’t a gravel road but rather a track that had a better sense of travelling through the forest. That said I will have to return to see the summit under snow and also on a clear day to see some of the promised views.

Mist and trees

Mist and trees

Happy 78th Birthday

Today is my fathers birthday, a sprightly 78 years old. We went out for dinner to Black Olive in Petone (wonderful Turkish food, brought back great memories of dinning at Bakko in Muswell Hill) followed by a walk along the pier on the Petone foreshore.

IMG 2149Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Walking out.

IMG 2170Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Mum & Dad.

Happy Birthday Dad :)

Thirty Six

My birth day was an event filled day. After opening a few presents we drove to Petone and spent a short time wandering the Petone Fair stalls we caught up with Sam and Jules and their friend Emma over a drink. From Petone it was north to Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt to watch some of the Grail of Chivalry events including medieval foot combat, jousting and trick horse riding. The weather was warm and we sat on a hillside eating lunch while watching people in armour engaged in mock battles on the field below. After eating we stood near the jousting field and watched richly garbed knights have too with long jousting poles and then moved into the shade as Joe Lumsden’s Rough Riders took their horses over jumps, through fire and performed stunts.

Going to hit you!Photo by Brendon & Keryn

At battle.

Joust knightPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

A knight in armour.

ClashPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Jousting.

JumpPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Leaping the flames.

One horse is not enoughPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Why restrict yourself to one horse?

The end of the dayPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Armour away for the end of the day.

Once the entertainment was finished it was back to the car and onward to Martinborough. We had tickets to the Day on the Green concert held at Alana Estate with Crowded House headlining with support from Supergroove and Seth Hapu. We joined Lydia and Will and some of their friends on a bank overlooking the stage for the first couple of acts, eating food, having a few drinks and conversing. Will had his birthday last week and Lydia’s was the next day so it was a meeting of people getting older. We left when Supergroove finished and made our way to our seats in the posh area, I’d convinced Keryn that seeing as it was my birthday a little extravagance was called for and we had seats right at the front middle of the stage.

Alana EstatePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Alana Estate.

Brendon & KerynPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Us.

Lydia & WillPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Lydia & Will.

Hold the notePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Neil Finn.

Crowded HousePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Crowded House.

Imploring the crowdPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Serenading the audience.

Encouraging the crowdPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Encouraging the singing.

Crowded House were excellent as usual, and the crowd was very enthusiastic singing along to all the hits. We had a few extra-enthusiastic people around us and got up to dance and save our view from the encroachment of others, and it was probably better if less comfortable standing. The encore was long and involved a few song choices from the crowd. At the end the band got together on the stage before thanking the audience and then they all jumped off the stage to thank people in person, darting off to bury themselves in the crowd. It was a good night to end a good day.

Oh, and totally unrelated, one of my photos got used on AFP’s blog, that was nice ;)

Fire

We came back from Waikanae yesterday afternoon to find the Hutt Valley lined with smoke. I drove down the Eastern Hutt Road and we came around a corner to see a helicopter flying over the hills above Naenae. Pulling over we got out and watched with a small crowd of people as fireman pushed through burnt scrub up on the hill, heading towards the clouds of billowing smoke. The helicopter would swoop around the hill, fly to the smoldering source and dump a load of water before flying off to refill.

IMG 1247Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Flying in to douse the fire.

The smoke would occassionally part to reveal tall flames, the fire apparently reaching a new spot of dry wood. We stayed for a while, driving off to try and see where the helicopter was refilling but failing as all the nearby roads were blocked. The fire was under control as night fell.

IMG 1231Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Firemen approaching the flames.