“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Caves and slips

Seeing as we're headed back up to the Northland this weekend, I figured I better finish the last blog entry about the north end of the north island of New Zealand.
On the way up to Paihia, we stopped at the Waipu caves for a look around. Before going in, we talked to some Kiwis who said prepare to get your feet wet. There is a shallow stream running through, and you can walk in the cave quite far. We changed into our sandals, but didn't make it very far, because it was very slippery in the mud. With flashlights off, you can see glowworms on the top of the cave, which are very pretty blue light. I hiked up around above the cave as well, and that felt very middle-earth-esque. It looked like the rubble of an old civilization, with huge boulders. I can't wait to go back!

The Northland had a "storm of the century" the end of March, with about 18 inches of rain falling in 36 hours. There was massive flooding and mudslides (aka slips). Many roads were closed, and we could see all the recent damage as we drove around on the recently re-opened roads during our Easter visit.

The road where this photo was taken is going through a steep forest, where we fortunately saw almost no other cars. Passing would have been a nightmare. The road had a lot of twists and was narrowed by the numerous slips, and on the other side was deep, steep jungle with no guardrail. If anything went over the side, you might never find it.
The other interesting experience we had up north was finding that our Toyota Corolla had a flat tire (spelled tyre here). We discovered this out on a remote, gravel road, after we'd driven I think 18 km to a parking lot for a hiking trail. Fortunately we had a full-sized spare, and Darin changed it. We had just paid $900 for new tires on the Surf, but that was back in Auckland. We'll be taking that vehicle on this next trip. Rain is expected so we'll want good traction.
In other news, one of our Araucana chickens started crowing, which sounded more like a sick baby yelling. Oddly he was not the one we expected to crow. He went with two siblings (hopefully hens) to my sister's house- she can keep roosters, but we can't. With the changing weather, the rescue hens have stopped laying, and the Araucanas haven't started yet. They love to eat the freshly cut grass clippings when Darin mows the lawn.
We have 3 feijoa trees in our yard, all dropping fruit. They are delicious, sort of pear-pineapple. They are great in a smoothie with banana and yogurt. There are plenty to share with coworkers and neighbors.