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19 June 2008

The Via Innominata

Kaueranga Valley, Thames

page 1

This is the second of two tracks recommended to us for a brief walk by the staff at DoC Kaueranga Valley. Neither on their map, nor on any signpost did we see a trace of its name, so we have given it one. It begins just inside the gateway of the Whangaiterenga Campground, and loops around to the left, returning to the road we came in by, about a kilometre back down the road.

It's got some OK stretches but basically this one is exercise for the legs rather than the spirit, though in ten years' time there may well be a very different degree of regeneration to observe.

The first part of this track is again, motorway, but through somewhat raffish scrub and wilding pines. It's a slightly steeper grade than the Edwards track, but that is not saying a lot.

The Kaueranga Valley is one of the more popular tramping destinations in the north, and DoC has put a lot of work into creating tracks that will stand the kind of wear that results from this. At 80 beds, the Pinnacles Hut is one of the largest in the country, and in the peak of summer, it hardly qualifies as getting away from it all. But right now, it's all peaceful.

An excellent all weather walking surface, which is something worth remembering when the Waitak tracks are often knee deep in bog.

A nice young rimu overhangs the track.

Miranda has arguably the most photographed bum in tramping.

The mist is still hanging around the valleys. Yesterday we did not get to do any walking at all; it was all heavy drizzle and low cloud, so just to get out and stretch our legs today is good.

Still we wind up the hill, scrub and gorse alongside, pine plantation up ahead.

It's not all radiata pine, though. Even through the mist there are a million different greens in the New Zealand bush and I love every one of them. I wonder whether anyone has done a study on the colours to be had in our bush.

Plonk any exotic, like the pine tree in the photo immediately below, in the middle of it, and it jangles.

Is there a consistent factor, present or absent, in the coloration of endemics that causes this? Or is it just something we are used to seeing?

This landscape is only a few miles, relatively, south of the Waitakeres, and yet it already bears some of the marks - and species - of a colder climate bush.

We're leaving the scrub and pines behind us as we climb, still on motorway.

Here's a ramarama with it's mottled leaves and green seed capsules. It bears a small white flower, but an exceptionally beautiful one, around Christmas or New Year, up our way.

This is more like my preferred surroundings. A pleasant walking track in which time has taken the opportunity to soften the man-made edges.

It's levelling off a little now.

Here's a venerable punga with its huge bole, hosting a multitude of small rata. It's a fascinating exercise from time to time to stop and count the number and variety of seedlings that have taken root in the trunk of one of these ferns.



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