Miranda’s day off, but a few details to sort first and a possible induction caused us to can the original plan and settle for a relatively close to Henderson re-run of the Fairy Falls Circuit.
Normally we’d park at Mountain Rd and go up Old Coach Rd Track, down and up Goodfellow Track, down to Fairy Falls, then back up to Mountain Rd.Â Slip repair on Mountain Rd, though, meant it was closed between Scenic Drive and the Mountain Rd Carpark.Â Until about mid-April, 2008, you will have to approach from the Henderson end.
Result.Â We went up to the Scenic Drive Carpark and did the orthodox circuit.Â Not nearly as attractive as including the Goodfellow Track, and I hate being a pedestrian on the Scenic Drive, even for just a couple of hundred metres, but still OK.Â Forest dry and the occasional semi-withered mahoe and filmy fern on the edge of the track a testament to that, but not as bad as it’s been elsewhere, and the sky held promise of a shower or two.Â Water flow over the Falls was minimal, but as Miranda remarked, it was a change to enjoy them without having to shout.
Since we were there last ARC have completed the tanalised stairway from the bottom of the falls to the top of the first level.Â No more picking your way carefully along a narrow, wet, bouldery track up the cliff. Fortunately the track from the base of the falls up to Mountain Rd retains some interest for the tramper.
I must be getting fitter.Â Including lunch we did the official circuit in round 3 hours.
Alice and I walked this one by ourselves today. It runs from the Fenceline Track, just below Simla to the Cascade Track, right down in the valley, or, as we did it, vv. The full report will follow but an abbreviated report is up in the annotated ARC tracknotes. It was a bit steeper and a bit more strenous than the Huia Dam track and I’d probably think twice about doing it in the wet. But after a very dry summer the tracks in the Waitaks are a dream. The bush is looking a bit dry on it, though nowhere as parched as the Woodhill reserve.
Recommended for fit fatties/oldies. If you’re not, your knees and ankles will tell you about it before you’ve finished.
Last July I set out to walk this track, but following a little closely on a bout of flu, I decided to turn back part way through.Â Last Tuesday, Miranda and I walked right down to the dam and back up again.Â Haven’t got the full write up finished yet, though the ARC track notes have been updated.Â A strenuous but not too difficult walk, and an extremely enjoyable one.
If Tuesday was anything to go by, I doubt I would have finished the track in any case last year.Â It has to be one of the wettest in the Waitaks, and even after one of the driest summers for years, there are still boggy patches to negotiate as you get down towards the dam.
Been a while since I’ve sent out a notification of any kind. After the November trip I got all written out, without nearly finishing the track reports that needed doing. I just wanted to go walking again while I was still fit enough.
A few recipes have found their way up to that section: There’s a couple of new soups come out of the last cold snap, and a zucchini-rich slice.
Curried Cashew and Carrot Soup: Sweet and nutty, substantial enough for a main course, and as spicy as you want to make it. About twenty minutes from start to on the table.
Spinach and Zucchini Soup: An ideal rainy-day-in-autumn lunch, and a wonderful green presence on your lunch table.
Also emerging from the recent zucchini flush in the vegetable garden is
Zucchini Slice : An adaptation of an internet recipe. Absolutely delicious, but main claim to inclusion is that it uses up some of the surplus crop of courgettes. For vegetarians, leave out the bacon and throw in some chopped olives and or blue cheese pieces.
I revisited Woodhill Forest to see how much progress has been made on the walking tracks. They’re open, but there’s a lot of uncleared debris and fallen branches and the bush is so dry it’s almost uncomfortable to walk in it. In the latest issue of the Woodhill Diary I quote a brief report of Harold Holt, the original Holt in Carter Holt Harvey. It’s an interesting account of a man whose love for trees and forests has been so abominably reflected by the company that bears his name. I also take you on a brief photographic tour of the Woodhill Forest modified short loop track.
At the end of February, 2008, Miranda climbed Fantham’s Peak on Taranaki, while I set off for Mt Holdsworth to complete some unfinished business from last November, and catch up again with friends in Napier and in Wanganui. I’ve completed the account of the Loop Track at Mt Holdsworth, and of the Gentle Annie Track as far as Mountain House Shelter and the report on the Atiwhakatu Track will be up as soon as I have a spare moment.