On the Taranaki trail

In the two months since we left HK our minds have relaxed considerably. Constant deadlines, and the small daily frustrations of big city living all added up to create a low level of anxiety and stress, which we are now thankfully free of. We notice the difference in our sleep which before was regularly disturbed by thoughts of work, or of other things that needed to be taken care of. Now we sleep the night through, unless woken by external factors (like the howling wind or the snores of a hut companion!). And during our daily walks on the trail, our minds are at ease. Often we are absorbed picking our way through the tangle of tree roots, stepping around muddy patches, or keeping our balance on scree slopes. But when not occupied by the trail, our minds are free to roam where they please. For me that means thinking of family and friends, remembering past events or dreaming of future plans. But very often, my mind starts to compose rhyming couplets. It’s totally bizarre! Usually they are about the walk, or the trail, but they can be about anything! I never experienced this before, and I have to say I hope it stops soon because they go round and around in my head unless i write them down. And once written down … they inevitably find their way to the blog 🙂
Here is an example of what was in my head on our last day walking on Mount Taranaki…

Mount Ta-ra-na-ki
What a special place to see!
Above New Plymouth, looming high
A white cone, framed by sky
Along the coast the weather’s severe
So it can snow any day here!
One year there was 18m of rain
Which runs off the mount and quickly drains
Being a volcano its sides are steep
So after such rain, its rivers run deep
Not just deep but also fast
And with few bridges one can’t get past
The winds are strong and can turn to gale
And then its unsafe to be on the trail

6 days we walked its mountain tracks
From hut to hut we carried our packs
The wind blew hard and we woke at night
Hearing it blow with all its might
We worried the hut would blow away
But thanks to steel cables it managed to stay
The trails were good so we never got lost
And despite heavy rain all rivers were crossed
Each day the peak was behind cloud
A view of the summit never allowed!
‘We’ll leave without seeing the peak’ we feared
But on the last day, everything cleared!
We saw the tip, covered in white
Its icy slopes reflecting the light
Its cliffs creating a perfect cone
A majestic peak standing alone
We finally saw Ta-ra-na-ki
And oh how happy were we!

(Thank God that poem is out of my head
Now I can sleep when I go to bed!)

A few times we got bombarded by these ensuring all four seasons were covered in a day:

A big smile after our first major river crossing:

We had 4 days like this one…

…but were rewarded on the last one:


2 thoughts on “On the Taranaki trail

  1. Clara, you write beautifully… Mister Castilloux, i love your pics!!
    I’ve now, finally, caught up on my reading… I can’t believe you left HK two months ago… Look forward to your next posts. Be safe!


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