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Posts tagged ‘bush track’

How to distinguish sun from lightning

We woke to rain again this morning. When I say ‘rain’, it fails to convey the force of nature that it is here. It patters on the leaves, it dreeps from the gutters, the wind hurls it against the windows in pellet form, and the trees release water bombs that explode on the balcony.

It was around 11:30 when – “Hey!” I said. “Sun’s out!”

“That’s not sun, it’s lightning,” said Husband.

“Let’s do something. We’ve had no exercise for over a week.”

(Australian food still prowls my digestive tract on a round trip to my hips.)

“We could walk up to Scenic Drive,” suggested Husband.

“Ah now come on, that’s barely beyond the postbox. Wouldn’t raise a pant, never mind a sweat. Let’s go to the top of the hill.”


“For the view.”

“But it’s raining!”

“Be hardy.”

We set off fully equipped for the weather. In other words, I had a waterproof jacket and Husband an umbrella.

The creek by the drive is in full flow. A stream has taken out the corner of the road by the neighbour’s drive. About half a kilometre from the house, the rain picked up again.

We got wet.

Note the shrinking hips, cause: exercise or damp (undetermined)

Mr Poppins

Kauri leaves, illuminated by sunshine. Or it could be lightning


Every second day or so and depending on atmospheric conditions, Husband and I go for a walk or cycle. Over a quick mid-day snack, we consult our map of the Waitakere Ranges and choose a trail within a 20km radius.

One of the best so far is just a little up the way from us. It is a bush walk called the Goodfellow Track, which takes about an hour via Fairy Falls.

Today we needed to go into Henderson for provisions (me) and mooch around Bunnings (Husband), so we decided to do the Goodfellow Track on our way. It was a beautiful – if blood curdling – day.

“Where’s my hat?” I said to Husband.

“What hat?”

“Well, any hat; although preferably woolly or fleecy and featuring ear flaps and insulation. Ooh- and a bobble.”

Husband was unreasonably unhelpful – possibly because I was describing an imaginary hat, but still. Anyway, I struck out on Goodfellow Track without headgear.

“My head is cold,” I grumbled.

“Well, walk faster,” said Husband.

About 20 minutes along the trail – I FOUND A HAT! We crossed a stream and there, lying to one side of the track, was a lovely, warm, woolly hat in exactly my size. Well, it wasn’t that lovely at the time, because it was soaked in mud; and obviously not that warm for the same reason. But it was indeed woolly and as for size, well a head’s a head. It’ll fit, even if I have to chop holes for my ears (which admittedly might defeat the purpose).

“Look!” I exclaimed, pointing.


“A hat! Lovely, warm and woolly in exactly my size – perfect!”

“Isn’t it a bit . . . nasty?”

“Not at all, it’ll clean up great after I pick out the leaves and pine needles and the mud and – oh, are those dead spiders? – Just a moment while I give it a little rinse in the stream.”

Me at the top of the Goodfellow Track. Auckland City in the background to the East

I fear I have a kauri tree fetish. Sorry to subject you to it, but they really are the most astonishing trees. Husband took a photo of me standing next to it to give an impression of scale. Unfortunately, after five days of farm food in Oamaru, my waistline looks about equivalent in diameter to that of the tree – so that one’s staying on the hard drive

Part of Fairy Falls – it extends further up through the bush, but I couldn’t fit it all in the photo. We usually have a quick dip, but it’s getting a bit cryogenic

What’s wrong with this photo?

Name that song: dum dum dum dooby doo-ah

This morning we biked down Mountain Road, up Opanuku Road, then cycled along Ferndown Track. When I say ‘cycled’, technically it was more like a hike carrying bikes and on one occasion Husband headbutted a tree, which was fun but admittedly more for me than him. At the end of the track we freewheeled down Grassmere Road.

Then we had to cycle back to the house.

Mountain Road is about 5km long with a 400 foot climb from bottom to top. We were told this by some bloke we met in the Waitakere Estate and we took him at his word because he was wearing a cardigan and had his hair parted down the centre.

Husband and I have different methods of approaching long uphill distances. Husband goes at it in short bursts with fluctuating degrees of enthusiasm. He generally considers handlebars to be decorative in function and prefers cycling over obstacles rather than around them. His boredom threshold is so low as to be undetectable, so he likes to race me, making up the rules according to which of us is winning (he’s better at the downhill sprints, while I have the edge the other way). He spends a lot of time twiddling around with his gears – or mine, when they are within reach – and supports regular refreshment stops.

My approach is more methodical. Once my legs are following my own internal rhythm, I’m unstoppable.

Today, I was doing so well, my internal rhythm became external.

“Let’s have a little music!
On the road again, ah cain’t wait to be oan the road again
La la la la la la music with mah friends
Ah cain’t wait to be oan the road again-

Hey! What else can we sing?”


“‘Lak a rhanstone cowboy
Ba bom!
La la mutter mutter mutter star spangled rodeo
And mufflers coming over the phone-

Hey, why aren’t you joining in?”

“I have to breathe.”

“Well, so do I-”

“Evidently less than I do!”

“Hmm, you might be right. Hey! Any requests?”

“Can you please, PLEASE shut up?”

“Ah now, come on. How about something by The Travelling Wilburys?”

“Can’t think of any of their songs.”

“Tom Petty?”

“Nothing’s coming to me.”

“Hey, I know! Roy Orbison!
Only the lonely-’”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake.”

“NO, it’s: Dum dum dum dooby doo-ah.”

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