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Around the Mountain


Dore and I woke up a bit earlier than usual so we’d be able to get a hike in before the afternoon. We ate breakfast at the B&B — Berta cooked again — and then headed up the mountain toward the trailhead. We made it there and started hiking by about 9:30.

After a quick detour where we went to the wrong trail start, we found the right track and started hiking. Our original plan was to hike around the mountain toward Dawson Falls, a round-trip of about three hours good hike. The hike started out quite nice, with the track winding along steep mountainside and cutting through dense sub-alpine bush. In places the path was like a tunnel through the dense flora. Other places the hillside was steep enough that we could see out over the landscape. The dark green of the native trees and plants went almost as far as we could see, then turned to patchwork farmland out on the horizon. We couldn’t see any other mountains in the direction we could see; the horizon was perfectly flat.

After hiking for about an hour we ran into an area where the trail had some standing water along a long series of steps. Some of the steps were several feet high, and Dore had a lot of trouble getting down. (She’s got shorter legs, you see.) Worse, the troughs that were formed by the wooden retaining boards were full of water, and some of them were soggy with mud. We gave it our best shot, but eventually we came to a spot where we were going to get our shoes completely wet. At that point we decided to bag it and head back. There was no use getting completely miserable.

It was just as well that we did turn back at that point, because we were getting pretty tired by the time we made it back to the car park. We gratefully piled in the car, and headed down the mountain. But we didn’t stop when we got to the B&B. Instead, we headed down and around the mountain. We were going to get to Dawson Falls by hook or by crook.

Twenty minutes later, we made it up to the trailhead by the falls. A quick ten-minute walk had us down at the falls. I have to say, the falls itself really wasn’t worth the effort. Sure, it was impressive, but I’ve seen better falls before. The bush on the way down and the crazy stairway path to the falls were pretty cool, however.

After a few minutes we packed up and headed down the mountain, but were stopped along the way by some road construction. We sat in the car as we waited, and I got caught up on my notes. After about fifteen minutes we got back underway, and from then on made good time back to the B&B.

When we got there we were both pretty tired and hungry. We devoured the rest of the Indian food from the night before, then I tucked Dore in to bed for a nap. (She was still battling her cold, and was pretty exhausted from the hike. I couldn’t blame her. I was tired too, and I didn’t have a cold.) As she drifted off, I headed back to New Plymouth to drop off the rental car and to pick up our van. The shop had called while we were on our hike to let us know that they had finished fixing it.

Amazingly, I didn’t forget anything in the shuffle, and an hour and a half later I was back at the B&B, more tired than ever, but basically done with everything I needed to get done for the day. Dore got up and we had some afternoon tea and coffee (and some more of Berta’s delicious date scones). After a while we got ready and headed out to a nice dinner at a restaurant in Stratford. We made it back home around 7:30, and again spent the rest of the evening relaxing and talking with the family from Perth. We were all pretty tired, and they had a flight early the next morning, so we said our goodbyes and headed to bed a bit early.

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