Friday, September 26, 2008

My Sunday's Ride to the Mountains

While South Africa seems to be in the grip of winter we have been having the most glorious weather. So much for all my moaning. On Sunday I took a ride into the mountains. A round trip of about 65 kms. There was very little wind to begin with but as I got into the Ruahine foothills the wind picked up and was against me. The road had a slight incline as well, which made my going a bit slow,but I knew as I headed for home it would be with me all the way. The first photo is just around the corner, one and a half ks from the house,then up a gentle slope and a two k hill where there is a winery. Grapes are coming in everywhere. Further on there are apple orchards.At the bottom of the first hill it is flat for the next twenty kms.,the Tikokino flats, although the road rises at about 5m per K. I passed deer farms,cattle and sheep and board at the gate of one farm which reads; South African Angoras and Siementalers. Podocarpus totora are found all over making the countryside a parkland. The one pic shows the road lined with them. They have formed a small forest on both sides.They look very much like P. falcatus with the same small leaves and grow bushy when not in a forest just like falcatus. This farm belonged to David Wilson. He has just returned from a visit to South Africa where he stayed in Underburg for a few days. He visited the farm of the Lunds, on which I spent time learning to farm in 1957 when Ken Lund was farming it.He then went to visit Denis Barker at Hillcrest, a classmate of mine, who took him to see our old school, Kearsney College..After this David went to St Francis Bay just twenty Ks from our last farm Nessie now owned by a Dutch couple and called Mac Kensie not Die Nessie. Its a small world.

I crossed the Waipawa River and returned on the opposite side. Except for a couple of challenging hills to begin(the last pic of the mountains shows the valley I had just cycled across) it was flat-out for another twenty Ks( I found myself doing over forty kph with the wind on my back for kilometer after kilometer.) passing through the village of Onga onga.It is a historical village beautifully restored. Actually its not famous for anything so I don't know why it would be an historical village except it has given its name to a very poisonous plant. One final hill (last pic over looking the Wapawa river where our house is just to the left at the bottom end of the river )and then it 's down hill most of the way home.All in all it took me 3hrs 52 minutes including stops for snaps and a couple of breathers.