Thoughts of a geek

13 November 2008


Filed under: Me, Photos — Tags: , , — qwandor @ 12:19 pm

As some of you will have known, I had been planning for some time to take a few days off shortly after finishing my exams and so on to go camping by myself, to get away from people and spend some time relaxing, thinking, contemplating and so on. As you may have noticed from my Twitter statuses, I did so this week. I left on Monday morning and got back yesterday afternoon. I ended up just going to Rimutaka Forest Park, which is a nice DOC campground fairly close to here. It was nice and quiet.

I did quite a few of the different walks over the different days, though avoided the longer ones as I was by myself. On Monday the weather was not too great so I just did a few of the short walks and wandered around a bit. On Tuesday afternoon I walked out to the Orongorongo river, via the Middle Ridge track on the way there and the main Orongorongo track on the way back. It seems they have put in a new suspension bridge halfway along the Orongorongo track since the last time I walked that way (which is probably about 5 years ago, it is hard to remember). It was also interesting how many different sorts of forest there were in a relatively small area, and how quickly it changes from one sort to another. You can see some of that in these photos, though it was much more striking actually seeing it first-hand.

Playing with my laser in the dark was fun too, though it does not come out so well in the photos. I found an interesting effect that can be made with moderately long grass.

Getting back to the topic of walking, I had a bit of a look around the Orongorongo river at the end of the track. The river has changed course quite a bit since I was last there. I prefer how it used to be. Several years ago I stayed a couple of nights at Raukawa Lodge for a youth group tramp. While we were there we buried a bottle of wine in a particular spot, and made up clues to find it. Another group — some friends of one of our leaders, I think — who were planning to stay there a few weeks or months later were supposed to follow the clues and dig up the bottle. However, due to bad weather, they never ended up going. The bottle may well still be buried there, so I went and had a look. A lot of the bank of the river seems have eroded in the intervening years. Raukawa Lodge used not to be visible from the river bed, as far as I can remember, but now it is quite close. A certain overturned treestump which I remember being about halfway up the path to the hut is now at the bottom of the path, with quite a steep drop from that point in the path to part of the river. I guess there has been some flooding. Anyway, I went past the treestump (which I think was part of one of our clues), and found the clearing where I think we buried the bottle. However, I could not remember under which of the several trees around the clearing we buried it, so I did not start digging.

Anyway, walking! On the Wednesday morning I took the Five Mile Loop Track, planning just to follow that around for a short walk. However, after doing the first part in just 20 minutes I decided to go further. Actually, odd thing here: the sign at the start of the track, by the carpack, says that it is a 2 km or 30 minute walk to the intersection where the Clay Ridge track starts. The sign at that intersection, on the other hand, says that it is 1.8 km or 1 hour 10 minutes to the carpark by the Five Mile Loop Track. The distances are not too different, but the times are completely different, for the same piece of track. If anything I would think it would take longer walking from the carpark to the Clay Ridge intersection, as it is slightly uphill that way. Odd. Either way, it took me about 20 minutes, so I decided to walk along the Clay Ridge Track for a while, towards Mount McKerrow. I did not want to go too far, so I decided to stop after an hour total (so 40 minutes past the intersection). The first 20 minutes or so past the intersection where quite nice, walking along a ridge with nice bush, and nice views at times, though the track was a little blocked in parts by trees fallen in recent storms. Then, however, the track went steeply downhill for a couple of minutes, then just kept on going up and up really steeply. It was more of a scramble than a walk at times. After 20 minutes or so of this I stopped to catch my breath, then turned back. I made better time back down, though it was really hard on the knees, and slippery at times. Anyway, I got back to my tent and had lunch just after noon.

On the whole I enjoyed my time, though it did not work out quite how imagined. The weather was nice and sunny on the Wednesday, but overcast most of the time until Tuesday night, and plenty of wind. There was also some light rain on the Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning; not really heavy but enough to be quite annoying.

You can find all the photos here on Flickr.

A few lessons for next time, as much for my benefit as yours:

  • Sausages are best with tomato sauce. Remember to bring some. (The sausages were really weird actually, they sort of fell apart.)
  • Bring dishwashing detergent, and maybe even a scrubbing brush. I ended up using soap, which was better than nothing, but it was not that great.
  • Leaving cooking dinner too late is not a good idea when you lack artificial light and rely on sunlight to see what you are doing. Cooking also takes a lot longer without a microwave and other normal kitchen appliances.
  • Sunscreen and something with which to scrub potatoes might have been handy too.

1 Comment »

  1. Tee hehe. No mircowave!

    Comment by Katie — 14 November 2008 @ 2:48 pm

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