Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ridgeline Walk

There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast.  
Newspaperman and poet Paul Scott Mowrer

Walking's pretty much what we do, and one of the great joys of a lengthy NZ visit is exploring a single locale for days at a time. I've noticed that when we do, the landscape reveals itself in a way that's just not possible when we're passing through for a day or two.

Today we went up to the ridgeline as suggested by our friendly host Howard, a New Zealander who worked in oil in the Middle East. He met his Irish wife there and they returned here to live. They own several properties and many acres in this wild area with few dwellings or people.

We thought we grasped his directions. Does this look like the gate he told us to climb over?

I'm up and over and Art is pondering his approach.

 There he goes...

Critical moment.

Cirque du Soleil, here we come.

It's a wild path, mostly uphill as we head for a high ridge with big views, according to Howard.

Once we get out of the thicket, a gorgeous forest path leads us on. 

We don't know it, but the walk will take us three hours--two up and one down, the down always more challenging in my view.

This wood is loaded with pine cones, and they're heavy with sap.

On the very steep portions, Art starts using a walking stick he picks up on the path, but it looks short to me. You could use an extender, I say. And not five minutes later we come upon the bones of a mammal--possibly a sheep?--including the horns. Do all sheep have horns? I had to look it up (more than you could ever want at this link):

A sheep's horns are hollow, consisting of a keratinous sheath overlying a bony core that is attached to the skull. Horns will grow through a sheep's lifetime, with the most rapid growth occurring during the first two to three years of life. The living horn of a sheep has blood flowing through it. If it is broken or cut off, it will bleed. When the sheep dies, the horn's interior will dry up and become hollow.

Nature provides an ideal handle
(and yes, it's hollow) 

We climb ever higher and find the view obstructed by clouds and a fizzy light rain. Checking the phone for an alternate route back, all we can see is a road heading over and into the massive mountains. Prudence requires that we return the way we came.

I have worked up a hot sweat and the sprinkle feels good.

Tomorrow we return to a favorite 2015 rental just on the other side of Nelson. See you down the road...

1 comment:

  1. Did Art Fall over the fence ??
    Those Mushrooms look like Alice in Wonderland !
    You guys are having fun !!!