A couple weekends ago, Higgs and I set out to do a much longer walk than we’d previously attempted. I wasn’t sure quite how long his little legs would hold out, so Andy agreed he’d pick us up if a certain Vallhund decided to give up partway through.
We began by heading up the Fenceline Trail from Karori towards the hilltops above Brooklyn. Once we cut over to the road that winds up into the highest hills, we soon came across the local ostrich farm. No idea why there’s an ostrich farm up there, but that’s besides the point.
Higgs wasn’t quite sure what to make of the ostrich, and I’d venture a guess that the ostrich felt the same about this weird stubby-legged canine.
Please excuse the photo quality, since these are all iPhone shots.
We battled the wind as we climbed steadily higher and higher into the hills. Luckily, I looked at the weather ahead of time, so I knew it’d be a northerly wind. The southerlies are the ones you have to look out for when heading towards Wellington’s south coast, understandably. They come straight from Antarctica and don’t hit land until Wellington because of the way it sticks out, so needless to say, they’re a bit brisk.
We eventually branched off the road and onto the trail that would lead us to the coast.
I’ve done variations of this walk a few times, but it’d been almost a year since my last trek. Having a Vallhund companion definitely enhanced the experience.
I think he felt like a bigger dog atop these grand hills.
The views out here are definitely some of the best in Wellington, especially as the trail begins to descend gradually towards the sea.
You can see Pencarrow Head in the lefthand distance of this next shot, where Wellington’s twin lighthouses are perched.
And here’s the view towards central Wellington and Miramar, both mostly obscured by the hills.
The South Island was clearly visible in the distance, but the hazy horizon is always difficult to capture in photographs. This is the best one of the bunch, since you can make out the Kaikoura Ranges rising out of the deep blue of the Cook Strait.
As you can see, there are lots of trails that crisscross these hills. Many of them are better for biking, since they would make for a very long day trip on foot. There aren’t any public roads that go out this far, so you have to be willing to double back or follow the rocky coast to Owhiro Bay.
The coastal views up here are unbelievable. This hike could never get old.
I did my best to get a photo with my dog pal, but he HATES selfies.
“Please no, Mom!”
“Fine. I’ll just lie down.”
It was around this point that Higgs decided to turn around. I’m not sure if he was confused or decided he’d had enough, but I had to point out to him that the route he was taking would be an even longer round-trip trek. This was his only attempt at insurrection.
The path wound down into the valley below, snaking toward the coast. You can see it in the center of this next photo.
Is this place real?!
Even Higgs appreciated the view.
Vallhunds are perfectly camouflaged to blend in with the Wellington hills, it seems.
When we came to the stream that cuts through the valley and empties into the sea, Higgs jumped right in.
We walked along the wide coastal track toward the Red Rocks (or Pariwhero).
Someone was clearly fed up with pictures being taken, though. Can you tell?
I love taking walks with Higgs, since so many people break out into smiles just looking at him. He is a cutie (when he’s not barking).
The south coast was sheltered from the northerly wind, and it was nice to walk on flat ground for a change.
I couldn’t help picking up this beautiful pāua shell, which admittedly is now sitting on our kitchen counter.
Having made it back to the road, we turned around to survey the ground we’d covered.
We headed back up Happy Valley Road into Brooklyn and then followed the Fenceline Track back to Karori. All in all, the hike was 27 km (17 miles). Higgs was seemingly full of energy, even nearing the end of the five-hour hike. His stubby legs aren’t a hindrance to his adventurous spirit after all.
As soon as we got home, though, he did spaz out like a little kid who’s overtired and has no idea what to do but whine. Then, he crashed.
I wasn’t far behind.
Up next, heaps of Vallhunds and seaside vistas at Queen Elizabeth Park on the Kapiti Coast.