I’ve been neglecting the blog recently, so it’s high time for a new post. One of the main reasons is that Andy and I haven’t been traveling a ton lately since we need to save up for our big trip to England and the States in June/July. However, that hasn’t stopped us from exploring closer to home in recent weeks.
A couple weeks ago, we had a long weekend for Waitangi Day. This summer, we’ve had seemingly endless good weather, so we took advantage of it and went camping for a night. Our destination was Kaitoke Regional Park, also known as Rivendell, since scenes from Lord of the Rings were filmed there. I visited in the winter last year with Andy and did a separate post on that, but it was an entirely different experience in the summer.
We arrived on Sunday in late morning and boy, was the campground packed! It’s first come, first served, so you have to just find a spot and go for it. There aren’t designated “spots” per se, more just a grouping of large fields where you fight for enough space to set up camp. We managed to find a decent space in the shade of some trees and staked out our territory. The day was sunny and hot, so as soon as our tent was assembled, we took off for the river, which runs right alongside the campground.
Nothing like a good game of tug of war…
Andy and Higgs didn’t waste any time wading in. I had to slather myself in sunscreen before joining them, but I was soon cooling off as well.
The water was chilly but it felt just right on a hot summer day.
We waded downstream and explored, enjoying the views of the surrounding Hutt Valley.
I think Higgs found his own personal heaven.
If this isn’t a look of pure Vallhund bliss, I don’t know what is:
Parts of the river were choked with children and families, so we continued on to a quieter spot and sat down on the rocky bank. There was a deep pool where Andy and Higgs had a nice dip while I enjoyed the sunshine.
We couldn’t escape the crowds forever, though, and a family soon moved in on our private pool. Time to dry off.
We moved further along in hopes of rediscovering some peace and quiet.
Fortunately, we had this stretch to ourselves, so we stuck around for a while to enjoy it.
It’s not hard to see why Peter Jackson chose this spot as Rivendell. The wild, dense forest and crystal clear river seem closer to Middle Earth than the world of humans.
That is, if you can keep a good distance from the screaming children.
Higgs did a good amount of swimming (he’s all grown up!), and he even found a little dog-sized beach.
Who could ask for better camping and swimming buddies?
To prove I was indeed there, I got Andy to step behind the camera. Look closely, or you may miss the camouflaged Vallhund in the foreground of this first shot. He’s perfectly colored to blend in with the riverside rocks.
The next three photos are some of my favorites of the day and perfectly capture my relationship with Higgsy. Love that little guy.
Kaitoke deserves two posts, so the rest of the photos will make an appearance very soon. I promise I won’t make you wait another three weeks before the next installment!