if its not yummy, then we better make it funny.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Its 5:30 am on a Sunday. I am recuperating from an amazing hike down the Pararaha (river, creek, canyon, not sure what to call it) I went on a 5 hour walk/swim. A neighbor, Mike asked if we wanted to go since I had heard about it and kept asking him about access and details of the hike. It was an overcast day, that's fine with me. Jordan opted to stay at home and watch the kids, with the plan of getting some school work done.
There were 4 of us hiking in total, I being the only woman along and having the shortest pair of legs. Mike, our neighbor, is American, but Kiwi raised. He lives up the road with his wife, Monde, and their sweetheart two year old BB. Mike has a business in the US, a catering company for rock bands. The business takes him back to LA for half the year. Monde is expecting her second child, now. Mikes friend, Steve, from Queenstown, the extreme playground and gourmet haven in the south of the south island is a hunter and a historian who works as an art director in the film industry. He was very helpful in providing me with a walking stick and checking up on me, at least initially, until he realized I was somewhat experienced at romping around safely in the wilderness. He had a sharp and quick wit that kept me snickering. I appreciated the stories and background information he provided. The last of my exploring mates was Marc, a guy who I know already from Desmond's school. He has a daughter Dessie's age, named Tiger. He is also in the film industry and is a director of photography. He can be seen with his camera at most school events. Marc took the photos I needed for my promotional material for the installations. We headed off at about 11 o'clock and wound downward first, then steeply upwards until we met with a river. From that point on we took turns wearing the day packs and some would swim and some stay on the trail, which was never far from the river. There were plenty of waterfalls and lots of places of various heights to jump off into the cool water. I loved the swimming element and spent a lot of time in the water. Once cold to the core there was always a good hill to walk up to warm up with. There were so many spectacular places to take in, it was very refreshing. We stopped for lunch and I had brought a can of sardines, after pawning off one or too and having my fill, I dropped the remains into the still pond next to me. It wasnt long before a small freshwater lobster came and was scouting around the area. I think I sent a chunk of fish right into the hole where they live. Soon after a large bronze colored eel was was there, enjoying the little morsels Id dropped. Then the eel had an altercation with something in the crawfish hole and he grumpily slunk away, slipping ever so gracefully through a crack in some rocks and almost coming out of the water doing so. Fascinating! Soon there was another smaller black eel swimming around. Marc referred to the eels as friendly snakes when I asked if they were harmful or any threat to swimmers. We carried on through Kauri log jams from the logging industry that used this waterway to feed the largest sawmill in the Southern hemisphere, down at the bottom of the trek. All there is left today is a huge rusted boiler, resting on the ground like a discarded spaceship. There was a tiny tunnel that the train squeezed through to take in supplies to the crew. The wood was taken by boats away from the Manakau head and shipped all over the world. Kauri and other New Zealand native timber if especially good for home construction and after the San Francisco fires there was a lot of Kauri shipped there for the housing industry. following all that amphibious travel and cold water, the hot black sands of the beach and dunes were a welcome comfort and we ended up on our own Karekare beach, peppered with people at leisure, surfing and patrolling the swimming. We finished off the trip with a last jump from a cliff into the "pearl pool". I was creaking with fatigue when I got home and relayed the adventure story to Jordan, who gets the next turn to go, or... Ill take him to the Pararaha, myself. It certainly is not a hike that my kids would enjoy, too strenuous and treacherous, so a sitter will have to be employed. How amazing to have such resources so close to home. Pinch me, do I really get all this!!?

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