Monday, 12 March 2007

The last weekend of summer

Last Friday, Tane and I were spending an afternoon of annual leave poddling around in outdoorsy-type shops. While in one of these shops, Tane decided to buy a tent. And to justify this purchase, we made a spur of the moment decision to go camping.

Less than an hour of frantic travelling back to the flat for some even more frantic packing later, we were sitting in the car, heading north. Although by "heading north" you must not assume that we were travelling at speeds higher than 30 km an hour. By "heading north" I really mean "driving so slowly that smug looking cyclists were overtaking us". Stuck in a traffic jam so bad that whenever we turned on the radio the main news story would be "traffic jams north of Wellington", we crawled to Wanganui over a period of 5 hours. The beauty of having no-where to be at no particular time, though, is that I still enjoyed myself. Good company, good music and good junk food made for a pleasant beginning to a great weekend. This, in spite of the fact that 1) by the time we found a random camping ground what felt like halfway up the Whanganui River it was too dark to pitch the tent, and 2) in all the frantic packing Tane had forgotten his sleeping bag anyway. 'Twas a cold night that night, and no wonder - turned out we were staying like a metre from the river.

It was a weekend of random beaches along the Surf Highway, reading in the sun, and good brunches. We took a detour up to Dawson's Falls at the base of Mt Taranaki which was spectacular, an amazing view of Taranaki as well as some pretty snazzy bush. Camping was great fun too once we arrived in New Plymouth and figured out how to put up the new tent. Tane got his beach swimming fix, and I got my seeing the Mountain fix.
There was one aspect of the weekend, though, that was less than pleasant. We stopped in at Cameron's Blockade on the way home, a historic barn type fortification built in the 1860s in case Titokowaru were to invade. The blockade looks, at first glance, like a Wisconsin-esque barn perched on a hill. Looking closer though you can see the carefully made holes in the walls for shooting muskets from, as well as the thickness of the walls to provide security. There was a small door at the top of the building that I decided I wanted to look out of, so scrambled up the ladder to the loft of the building.

Setback #1 - the small door was locked. Upon realising the door was locked I also realised how creepy and dark the loft was. Setback #2 - my puny arm span wasn't big enough to position myself on the ladder to climb down. I was stuck in the creepy loft. Setback #3 - at risk of sounding like a super-wuss extraordinaire, about this time, I remembered I was scared of heights. It was not fun at all. I got down eventually, but don't intend to ever investigate the loft of a blockade house again. I do wonder though if any of those colonials ever got stuck up there.
Scarier than it looks
This aside though, it was a great weekend. I still can't believe that we have had such good weather in the middle of March, and am glad that by going camping last weekend we are enjoying every bit of the NZ summer we possibly can before heading off to Europe later this year. I read on Stuff this morning to expect the summer weather to cease this week, and can't help but feel a little smug about having such a good last weekend of summer.

1 comment:

Maria said...

*Sigh* You're making me homesick ;-)