New Zealand smells: fragrant, spicy ,earthy, pungent, medicinal, sweet, ferny and of course like the ocean. My tramp Otaki Forks to the Otaki River in the Tararua Forest Park was another example of that richness. I am constantly amazed by the depth of scent in the air, how from the river up to the meadow the smells can change so dramatically. Perhaps I am noticing them so well because they are unfamiliar?
At the trail head there is a sign-in to state "intentions". I looked at it... and decided I was only going for a short walk, so why fill up the book with unimportant/trivial excursions? I do however heed the sign which indicates good walking shoes recommended.
Down the track to the river and over the suspension bridge. A sign indicates choices, I take the short "40" min choice to Otaki River. ( I thought this was the Otaki River?) Very pleasant walking up to a meadow/plateau/bench, they call it a "flat". Easy, although the sun is getting hot, another crossroads (crosstrails?) and I continue along the edge of the flat. Then into the bush along a narrow trail, roots etc. Out of the sun descending rapidly. I'm thinking (again) nobody knows where I am, what if?... I slip a bit and arrive at the river. What a beautiful spot for a swim! It doesn't take long to get hot again so off with the clothes and into the water. Yes, it was cold but I put up with that and did some strokes back and forth across the pool. The current was quite fierce and I ended up in a back eddy that had me swimming hard, but hey no worries. Dry off in the sun get dressed and head out to turn my ankle on the first step up the hill. Yow! Luckily for me I know how to fall (I have done so , sooo many times) and previous experience has shown walking on it works best. In other words, ignore it and move on.
Some hikers passing by take my picture, suddenly this is action central and a group of about 12 goes by loaded down with huge packs smiles on their faces.
On the way in I stopped, as the view was quite dramatic, to take a picture until I noticed someone behind me, so stop again well off the road. Somehow they don't really give the sense of being perched on an unstable cliff edge driving along a very narrow road.
Out the woods and back on the highway, I stop in Waikanae for fuel, me and the van. No wireless at the library, but I am able to plug in and charge while I type up the mornings adventures.