Sunday, 19 April 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015 - We got up cleaned and saw what a beautiful day so we headed southwest for an adventure.

We drove to the Waitakere Regional Parkland.  There are a lot of hikes, waterfalls and beaches in this area.  Our first stop was at Nihotupu Dam.  It was a nice 40 minute walk to the Dam.  The trail was almost like a road and you walked by the Nihotupu Stream and saw some waterfalls on the trail. 

 The Nihotupu Stream that we walked along all the way to the reservoir.  Very calm and peaceful. 

Below Nada on the main trail.  It was a very warm day but with all the trees we walked in the shade most of the time.  There were only a few other people hiking so we enjoyed it at our own leisure.

There are so many different, interesting trees here in New Zealand.  Reed always has something to photograph.

Reed climbed down to take a picture at one of the waterfalls, and all of a sudden he disappeared.  He slipped on a grassy rock and fell out of sight.  Luckily he ended up on the side of the waterfall and not in it. His glasses flew off but luckily he found them. He got a little muddy and sported a pretty huge, purple bruise a day later but nothing broken.  He said, "Sometimes you have to sacrifice to get a good picture!"

 The grassy, fern like stuff on the right side of the waterfall is where Reed slid and fell.

We finally found a safe place from the stream back up to the trail for him to climb out.  It scared Nada for a few minutes because she could not see him and he was not answering.  Finally we communicated and all ended up okay!

 You can see the waterfall in the distance and you can see the mud on Reed's shorts from when he fell.  Also there are some water spots on the lens of the camera.
 The sun reflecting off the water made the reservoir look so blue.  It was quite clear water.  You can tell it is at the end of the season.  This reservoir provides water for the Auckland area.  You can see the dam in the distance.
These birds had blue on their wings and were quite loud.  Not sure what type it is.
 Nada standing on top of the dam.  It was built in 1923.
 We love all the fern trees.  They are just so beautiful.  They are everywhere and always look nice.

These are tram tracks.  People use to take the tram to come here for picnics.  We also assume they used these tracks to bring in supplies to build the dam.  We just walked on them to get to the base of the dam.  The pipe is a water pipe.  They had pressure gauges every so many feet and you could hear the pressure when you got close to the gauges.
 Reed at the bottom of the dam.  They were not letting very much water out.
 We had to walk on a trail and the tram tracks down but you are allowed to take the steps back up to the top of the dam.  They were very steep steps and narrow.  We could see why they did not want people climbing down them.  They had moss on them and could be slippery.
 You can see how steep it was to climb out but not bad.
Nada on the last set of stairs up.  It was a great adventure.  We will probably come back here next spring when the run off is happening and see the stream running a little faster and see the reservoir fuller.

We finished hiking out and headed to Piha Beach.  This is where a lot of surfing takes place.  The people say there are good waves here all the time.

 The sand was nice and the water was not too cold.  It was getting a little later in the day so we only got our legs wet.
 Nada hiking on some lava rocks.  The tide started coming in so we decided to not try to get to the other bay.  Maybe another time.

Below you can see the waves.  They were coming in and crashing like that the entire time we were there, which was about an hour.

 These kids had picked up a piece of seaweed and were using it as a jump rope.  It looked like fun.  Our kids and grandkids would have wanted to jump with them, I know I did.
 Nada walking in a stream around Lion Rock.  The water runs from a stream into the ocean and it was very warm.
 This is what they call Lion Rock.  This beach just kept on going.  We definitely will be coming back here.  It is amazing how many great beaches, hikes and things there are to see within an hour to an hour and a half from our flat.
 There were quite a few people enjoying the water and some were surfing.  It really was a beautiful day and beautiful scenery!
 We had a great time just walking along the beach, enjoying the sounds of the waves and getting our feet wet.  Kind of magical.
 From the lookout point on the road you can see why they call this Lion Rock on Piha Beach.  The other nice thing about all these beaches and places are they are free.  You just have to get to them.  The local people really use their beaches and parks and they are well kept and have nice bathrooms at all these areas.  What a wonderful day.
Monday evening, April 13, 2015, after Family Home Evening we were walking home and it started to rain and the wind started blowing hard.  This is what happened to our umbrella!  Luckily we were almost home by the time it was ruined.

Above is a picture in the main conference room in the Area Office where we hold our usually Monday morning devotionals.  Today, Tuesday April 14, 2015 we held it because the Area Presidency were talking to us about their experiences at General Conference and their meetings the week before.  It is always great to get information first hand. 
On the wall are pictures of the senior missionaries and employees at the Area Office who have completed their 15 generations.  Most have their Temple work done but as long as they had identified them or spent a lot of time trying to find them they were included.  The Area Presidency wanted 80% by the 15th of April and it is over 90%.  Great Work Everyone!

 This is part of our office.  They are the Self-Reliance Area Team.  Starting closest is Ariel, Rene, Dean and Dallas.  We work very closely with all of them.
 This is the other side of our office.  This is Welfare Services.  Closest is Luisa, then Elder and Sister Winters.
This is Reed in our ITEP Coordinators Office.  They wanted to make sure we came up here and worked off and on so no one would try to take over the office before the new coordinators can be called and take over. Reed likes coming up here to work because it is much quieter.
Nada in our Education Specialist Coordinators Office.  They moved a wall and put up little cubicle walls so we felt like we weren't right out in the open.  It works and is plenty good enough.  We really enjoy the people we work with in both of our missions right now.  We stay busy but it is not too much right now.  We feel blessed that we were able to step in and help the ITEP program and continue to do our Education Specialist Mission at the same time.  The Lord is watching over us and helping us to stay well and keep up with all that needs to be done.

On a sad note.  On April 17, 2015 Nada lost her oldest brother Paul.  It is so hard to be so far away from our family during hard times like this.  I feel so blessed that I was able to talk to him and let him know how much I love him before he didn't wake up any more.  What a blessing for him to only have pain for a few hours and then pass quietly and peacefully with all of his children, grandchildren and siblings there with him.  We will miss him but are so grateful for all the good memories and experiences we have shared over the years with him.  I will miss him when I go home and walk every morning past his house but know that he is with our parents and grandparents and all those who have gone before him.  Thank you to all of you who have expressed your love and support to me and the family.  We are grateful for the knowledge that families are forever. 

Thank you for sharing all these great experiences with us.  Some are harder than others but we learn and grow from all experiences,  We love the gospel and will do our best to serve The Lord. 
Until next time.
Ofa, Alofa, Love, Elder and Sister Spencer (Reed and Nada)


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