Monday, January 26, 2009

Trekking around the island

Before we confuse you with several new unpronounceable place names, allow me to give you an idea of where we're talking about. Here's a map of NZ (pronounced "enzed").

We're in Wellington, the capital, and we've highlighted the places we've been over the past two weekends.

1. Cape Palliser, where we saw the seals and the lighthouse.
2. Raumati Beach
3. Rimutaka Forest Park

(Note to Joe and Angela and Dave ... how I miss you and your amazing PhotoShop skills. I'd be embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to create the maps above.)

Home: We live within about an hour of the other places on the map, but great hiking trails are within walking distance of our front door. We walked about 20 minutes through town to find a trail that led up to Mt. Kaukau (Jake likes to pronounce it like an angry bird). Our house sits about 110 meters above sea level, and we climbed up to around 400 that day. Whew.

This plant reminds me of the giant leaf we received from Lori in Hawaii the day we got married. I'm not sure that's going to make sense to anyone who didn't come with us, but there's not much more to explain. 

2. At Raumati Beach on the west coast, Jake claimed to have seen a 20-lb. sea gull, pictured below. "It's the size of a turkey!" He spent most of his time following the critter around while I took in the spectacular views. We walked along the beach and ate at a little place right there that had a good view, then came out and watched the sun go down. This is where we could see the south island. You may be able to see it in this shot, although its very faint.

We took some time to walk around on the rocks a bit farther south. It reminded us of doing the same thing in Hawaii.

Then this weekend, we headed over to Rimutaka Forest Park for a day hike. We were on the lookout for Kiwis (the bird, not the fruit) but never saw any. I guess they're nocturnal.

The trail was all through a forest of palm trees and giant ferns and other cool plants we couldn't identify. It seemed like a tropical jungle to us. Most of our three-hour round-trip was under a full canopy that sunlight couldn't penetrate, so even though it was probably 75 or 80 outside, it was perfectly cool under the trees. 

The thing about this place is that just outside the forest you can see a large number of hillsides that have been forested. I've heard that was a big problem here, but haven't done much research on it yet, as I'm using our Internet mostly for blogging and e-mail so far. A good blog author would give you a link to some intriguing and insightful information on the subject. Fair warning, dear readers: until this becomes a revenue-generating venture, this may be as good as it gets.

In all of these exciting trips and planning, I've forgotten to mention something important. My mom just had a birthday on Jan. 16. Mom, you mean the world to both of us, and one of the reasons we love you so much is all the love and support you've shared with us lately. xoxo

I realize I have missed some other birthdays since firing up this blog last fall, but rest assured we'll try to cover them during our time here. The important ones, I mean. (Sorry Corey, you're probably not on that list.)



Corey said...

My birthday is in October so no worries.

dave said...

My birthday's Feb. 14th.

Anyway, I must say again how jealous I am. Thanks for the great pics and entertaining writing (why didn't you ever do that at Rockhurst?).

Jake, How have the locals reacted to all your purple wear? I sure hope you're not missleading them into thinking we're a bunch of purple wearing 'pufters' over in MO. I might suggest wearing something more approachable like Black or Yellow (Gold) or a combination thereof.

Keep up the great explorations.

Mom Deed said...

Aw, shucks, you guys are sweet and thanks for the birthday wishes. I so much enjoy all the great pictures. When I see them and read about all the fun things you guys are doing, then it doesn't hurt as bad to know that you're so far away. What a beautiful adventure, and good job on all the work you go to to make us all see it as if we were there ourselves. But even so, love and miss you both!