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Bird watching, bread baking and new routes

The Kapiti Island thing didn’t go ahead yesterday, due to excessive wind or something. The boat skipper wasn’t keen to go out, and that seems fair enough. They didn’t take any of our money and DOC is happy to defer the visiting permit to a later date. Consequently we’ve put it off until next Saturday.

I spent some of this morning baking bread, for which I’m still trying to get my recipe exact. I’ve increased the amount of yeast I put in over earlier occasions, because wholemeal flour doesn’t seem to like to rise as much as regular flour. I’m also trying to make some bread rolls just by rolling up some well-kneaded bread slop that I mixed together and putting it directly on a baking tray, rather than a nicely shaped bread baking pan. At this point it’s not clear how they’ll come out, but I guess we’ll find out later today. Right now the yeasted slop is enjoying the sunshine. Some time I hope to get a good enough technique to make some nice bread to take tramping. The problem so far is that it usually doesn’t last long enough for it to still be around when I’m packing.

Meanwhile, with a spare day yesterday, I went into town and bought three new maps for the area around Nelson Lakes. On a whim, I also bought a bird identification handbook which I’ve been playing with in the garden on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I’ve discovered we have lots of Tuis, which I already knew, but now I can be certain that they’re Tuis. The postponement of the Kapiti Island trip was probably just as well, because Stacey hurt her knee on Thursday night playing the high-contact sport of Netball, and would have had a lot of trouble on any extended walk.

The other thing I did yesterday, on the way to town in fact, was to explore some more tracks around the Tinakori Hill. I hadn’t had an opportunity to check out some of these areas until now, but now I have a better idea of how they connect up to the routes I already use, and that’s useful knowledge.

The city council (or somebody thoughtful) has recently put some serious effort into clearing many of the more direct (but recently overgrown) routes on the western side of the hill, which has given me some ideas on faster ways to get home from work on a relatively scenic route, or at least one that avoids traffic. Some of the cleared routes still have occasional very thin spaces between gorse, but it’s at least bearable now.

Until recently I’ve found it to be about 10 minutes faster to walk up the steps between Garden Road and Orangi Kaupapa Road than simply walking straight over the ridge track on the hill, but with the new routes that are available I’m starting to wonder, so might have to do some more measurements. I tend to walk home the shorter way up the steps if I’m in a hurry or just don’t feel like taking a longer route.

Oh, and the Tinakori Hill is quite a nice place in the dark, as long as your torch batteries aren’t going flat. But it’s also nice in the rain and in the wind as far as I’m concerned, so go figure. I collected a few photos over the last few months when the opportunity presented itself, and have included a small selection below.

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From the ridge track, 18 June 2008.

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From the Eastern side between
St Mary Street and the Ridge Track,
25 August 2008.