Climbing, climbing, climbing, up, up and up. They say what goes up must come down but what about going back up again and then back down, up, up, up and then down, down, down only to do it all again and again, oh my gosh and again!
Fantastic bush walk today out in the winter sun with hubby and the dogs. Happy, happy, happy dogs – doesn’t get much better than a bush walk – all those great smells, good leg stretch and freedom – I think they call it doggy heaven.
I say out in the winter sun but when you’re doing a bush walk you’re not really in the sun but the light filtering through the trees adds to the atmosphere and showcases the lovely colours of the bush – something so simple that we often take for granted – it’s green – but is it? How green, what shade of green – perhaps you should take another look, I almost guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
One disadvantage to a winter walk in the bush though – a little tad chilly. Nevermind plenty of steps to climb so I’m sure we’ll soon warm up.
Did I say plenty of steps…….
Today’s trail starts at the Inangahua Swingbridge and Picnic Area 11kms East of the village of Reefton. We’re checking out the Progress Water Race track – sign states 2 hours return but we hope to go a bit beyond there towards the Golden Lead Battery. We know we won’t make it that far as that is a 5 hour return hike – and a hike not a walk, getting into proper tramping territory and we don’t have enough light with the winter hours. Actually truth be told we weren’t organised as well as we should have been to get out hiking earlier (come on we had guests this morning to attend to!). We’ll see what the walk brings though.
First up before our hike is a compulsory stop at the Broadway Tearooms and Bakery in Reefton. Have to fuel up for the day’s adventure – and it is lunchtime after all. These guys do the best filled rolls – their bread is more like eating candy floss – yum, yum. Our aim is to finish at the Bakery also for a hot drink and sweet treat – our reward after today’s adventure.
Ok so back to our walk. We head across the swingbridge to start the trail. Growing up in NZ most of us are well used to swingbridges but boy oh boy this thing really moves. There are only two of us on it and it says load capacity of five pax – man she would be a full on sway going then. Classic.
Now let the climbing begin. The dogs love it – they are off and make it look super easy. Steps and stairwells, boardwalks and bridges – lot of effort been put in by DOC for this trail – very impressive. The bush goes steeply up the bank so naturally if you want to access it then the track has to go straight up too. It switchbacks a little bit but mainly to start with it is just up, up and up before it joins the old water race.
Following now a bed of green in amongst the towering Beech forest the trail winds it way around the side of the hill. Fantastic boardwalks and bridges and the water race occasionally disappears into the hillside only to pop back out as we round the corner. A couple of times you can see right through and could possible walk through if you wanted. We’ll leave it for today though.
Now we’re going down – hang on just a minute – what was with all those steps I climbed to get up here. Seems like we’re going all the way to the bottom again. Easy does it as they are a little slippery. Down, down, down. Laughing now cos you guessed it we’re soon going back up, up, up.
Talk about a stairway to heaven – don’t look ahead they seem to go on forever. Definitely an advantage to having a husband into photography – lots of excuses for stopping. Nothing at all to do with catching ones breath! While waiting a little bush robin comes to check us out. Soon his friend arrives. The dogs are intrigued – we must look silly, we’re looking at them and they seem just as intrigued with us – certainly not shy as they come right up close. Super cute but unfortunately couldn’t capture them with the camera for you all to see so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.
Ok – one more lot of down – far out really! This lot brings us back down to road level – the confluence of the Inangahua River and Deep Creek. This is officially the end of the Progress water race track and now becomes the Inangahua/Big River track and will eventually turn into a tramping track rather than walking track so won’t be in as good condition as what we’ve been doing. As mentioned early we don’t have enough daylight to go too much further anyway. It’s that funny old thing though isn’t, it never seems to take as long to go back the way you came as what it did to come in – well feels like it anyway. We stop here at the junction for a snack and meander along the bottom of the continuation of the track. It’s getting pretty boggy so we decide enough is enough and turn around. Back to the steps….. oh no…….
It isn’t that bad really – I’m making it sound worse than it is. I’m sure it would be hard for some people but for us young, fit, fine-tuned, endurance athletes….. yeah right! Snap out of the dream and get up those steps!!!! Our little friend the bush robin is back with his buddy – can’t believe how friendly and unafraid these little fellas are – so cute.
Doesn’t take long and the trail looks real familiar with the little water race tunnels and curved bridges. Nearly back and my calf muscles can have a rest. Few more steps first though – down this time. Easy does it, don’t want to trip up just before the end – how much of a disaster would that be!
Yay! Mission complete – now back to that double dipping mentioned earlier – the Broadway Tearooms for hot chocolate and cake. Makes it all worth while……
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They love to get out and explore the many wonders of the West Coast with their two dogs Nico and Ziggy – the great explorers. Check out their other blog posts for suggestions on things to see and do on the West Coast.