First of all, happy 2018! I hope you all had a great New Year’s Eve, and to everyone in the eastern US, stay safe and warm during the blizzard. Maybe these pictures can bring you a dose of some much needed sunshine.
Now, not to rub it in, but we’ve been really lucky to have great weather over most of the holiday break here, so Andy, Higgs and I have taken full advantage of it. After an insane amount of feasting, we decided it was time for a good hike a couple days after Christmas. We set out toward Kaitoke Regional Park (a.k.a. Rivendell) to try a trail we hadn’t done yet.
We parked and made our way past the bulk of the visitors, who were meandering along the Rivendell trails, complete with signs and photos from the films. We were headed for the Ridge Track, which is exactly what it sounds like.
It was a steep uphill climb at first, but with that out of the way, the track rose and fell with the wooded ridge-line.
The beech forest was stunning, especially with a carpet of leaves over the trail.
You can easily picture some elves emerging from around a bend in the path, right? There’s also a solid chance that’s just me, but I’m not ashamed.
This trek was the perfect opportunity to break in my new hiking boots, courtesy of Santa Andy.
Looking down, it really seems like an autumn scene instead of summer in NZ.
“Hurry up, Mom. Why are you taking photos of your shoes??”
Around the next bend, we came across another scene that can only be found in Middle Earth. Must be ents, right??
If you look closely, you might see the rare Valar-hund (extra nerd points if you get that reference).
Andy may or may not have been behind the tree encouraging that photo. He’s learned from countless walks with me. 🙂
Of course, I couldn’t resist the urge to climb this magnificent tree too.
I’m really glad I brought my camera along for this hike!
Higgs seems to be perfectly colored to blend in with dappled sunlight on the forest floor.
As we neared the highest point of the track, a brilliantly red rātā tree caught my eye.
It was the perfect time to stop and enjoy the stunning view out over the expansive Tararua Mountain Range.
You can certainly tell which way the wind usually blows!
We walked a little bit further, but when the track started to dip down, we figured that was our cue to turn around. The trail is about three hours in one direction, and we hadn’t come prepared for a six hour hike. I think we saw the best bit anyway.
Love this one of me and my hiking sidekick:
Time for a BFF photoshoot.
Do you think I wore enough patterns?
Now that’s true happiness right there. 🙂
Time for the return trip!
After descending back into the main part of Kaitoke, we decided to take Higgs down to the river for a dip. Andy kicked off his boots and joined him.
It’s the perfect spot for wading, and there are deeper parts too for a full-on swim when it’s really hot. The water is a little cold for my liking, so I’ll happily stick to the shore and take pictures.
Nothing is too cold for this chap, though. He’s Swedish, after all!
He even swam a bit, with encouragement.
What a brave, majestic beast.
No swim is complete without a good roll-around afterwards.
And a game of chase.
This is the feisty Higgs (a.k.a. “crazy dog”) face.
It started to rain, so we quickly packed up and headed to our car, which luckily wasn’t far away. All in all, a successful hike for all three of us! It’s great exploring new places that are so close to home. True to that theme, stay tuned for two more epic walks coming up. As always, thanks for reading!