9-15 April ’11
I would like to apologise in advance for the poor processing on some the of following photos. I’m learning how to drive some new software. Bear with me, hopefully there will be an improvement by next week.
The Pohangina Valley
This weekend we decided to take the kidlets up to the glow worm caves at Aptiti. Saturday had dawned blue-sky perfect. We packed up picnic supplies, torches and gumboots and set off mid-morning. The valley formed by the Pohangina River runs south from its headwaters high in the Ruahine Ranges to Ashhurst, were the river empties in to the Manawatu . It’s a beautiful, and I think under-appreciated, part of our country. The views from the road as we wind north from home are spectacular. At this time of year the the valley is changing to
The Pohangina River Valley - dressed in Autumns splendor
golds and reds as Autumn works her magic on the foliage. The low morning sun glistens off the ribbon of river in the valley floor. The recent rains have created an almost obscene over-abundence of lush green grass on the farmland.
Tree Ferns, dinosaur fodder
The pocket of native bush that is Totara Reserve reminds us of what the whole region used to look like – one can easily imagine dinosaurs munching on the tree ferns and grazing on the jewel green mosses.
We stopped for a brief snack break on our journey. There is a drive way and a grassed area that used to be the camp ground and picnic spot of choice at the Reserve. This area was wiped out in the floods of Feb 2004, it could have been repaired, replanted and rebuilt. However, in Dec 2006 tragedy occured. Three children, Keryn and Callum Langley and their cousin Michael Liengme were swimming with their families. The bank above the river collapsed, trapping and killing the children. This part of the river is now closed, so says the sign erected by the council. I don’t think the sign is necessary. There is a feeling of sadness and neglect that has settled over that stretch of river, no one wants to swim there now. So we stopped to snack. We stood on the bank and contemplated the huge pile of soil and rock that still lies in the river where the children were swimming. We enjoyed the sunshine and the birds singing from the totara tree tops, because life goes on. And I thanked my lucky stars that it wasn’t my kids swimming in that river that day.
Limestone Creek and the Glow Worm Caves
Both the lovely man and I visited these caves as kids. On separate occasions we stayed at the near-by Sixtus Lodge, an outdoor education center used by schools in the area. We have vague memories of a scramble down the hillside, splashing through the creek at the bottom, and the dark mystery of the cave twinkling with the little glow worms’ lights.
Kidlets at the start of the track down to Limestone Creek
A sign at the top of the track warns us to be careful, that this is a remote experience area. And it reminds us to respect that we are entering private property. It’s refreshing to just have a sensible warning sign, and then the freedom to use our own common sense. No fences barring the way, no cotton- wool-wrapping to save the unwary from themselves. We don our gumboots, arm ourselves with torches and head down. Continue reading