Rain rain rain

I like rain, and so far it’s been raining a lot this weekend. I have several friends spending their time in the Tararuas this weekend, mostly in the region of Totara Flats. It’d be really nice to have been able to be there, but unfortunately I’m still catching up with a few things that fell behind during the few weeks I was overseas. Last time I visited Totara Flats was also a weekend full of weather warnings, and we nearly became trapped there as a consequence of rising side-creeks flowing over the tracks, which made the excursion a nice little adventure. I imagine they’re having quite an exciting time right now, and a few days from now I look forward to inquiring as to how it went.

I did get out for a walk in the rain this afternoon, however, starting in Otari Wilton’s Bush (a 10 minute walk from our current residence), and walking up towards the Skyline Walkway. The Kaiwharawhara Stream was as full as I’ve ever seen it — probably still safely crossable (not that there’s a need with all the bridges), but much higher and faster than its usually tame appearance. Walking along it for a few hundred metres was a telling experience, every so often seeing another temporary ad-hoc creek racing down the hillside and crashing into the stream valley at the end, making a lot of noise.

I didn’t expect to see anyone, considering the volume of precipitation in the air, but I actually saw several people outside with similar ideas to myself. The first was a group of about 6 or 7 people and a dog. I imagine they were from a tramping club. From my own experience, it’d be unlikely to see a group that size out for a walk in such weather, and two of them were wearing Oringi Raincoats, which in general tend to be an artefact of people who spend time outdoors as a serious hobby rather than casually.

I walked up to the flax clearing half way up the western side of the valley. I’ve been there many times before, but this was the first time in such consistently pelting rain, so I stood there for about 5 minutes just to watch and listen to the different kinds of things that come out in such different weather. As I was about to leave it, a chap came climbing up the hill in shorts and a t-shirt, which was a contrast to my own shorts and long-cut raincoat. He was completely saturated but I doubt he minded, and he gave me a smirky grin as I waved, and turned back into the trees to continue up towards the ridge.

Within a few minutes the trees cleared, and the region was once again directly exposed to the rain. Not that it really made a difference by now because I was about as wet as I was going to get, and I kept going for another 10 minutes to the top of the ridge along where the Skyline Walkway passes. The wind began to play its part by now, but not in a way that was unbearable so I walked along the ridge for a few minutes, watching the misty curtains of rain blowing in waves across the hilltops. I like the rain.

It was time to turn around, and so I happily made my way back the way I’d come, off the ridge and into the trees and back to the Kaiwharawhara Stream, stopping to read a few more pages of my book under a shelter before climbing up the other side. It was a nice afternoon walk.

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