Thursday, 2 July 2015

Monday, June 1, 2015, was a public holiday, the Queen's birthday and the Area Office was closed.  It was a pretty nice day, not raining, so we decided to head to the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park and do some hiking.

There is so much to do within an hour of Takapuna where we live.  It took us about an hour from our flat to arrive at our first stop Fairy Falls.

It had rained hard during the night but the trail was not too muddy.  You can see trees start tipping over and unless they totally block the paths they just leave them.
 As we started out it looked like it might rain but it only sprinkled for a minute.  It was quite cool all the way down to the last waterfall.  You can see how dense the foliage is.  It is so green and beautiful here.  The shade ended up being very nice on the hike out.  It does rain a lot so that is why everything is so green and grows pretty fast.  No as fast as Samoa though.
The path was very clear.  Here the path is actually boulders and a stream.  We managed to not fall or get our feet very wet.
The first waterfall we came to.
 There were over 400 steps down to the last waterfall.  Going down it was nice.  Coming back up and out was a little bit of work.  New Zealand really takes very good care of their public parks and areas.  They are also very clean.
You can see the water sitting in these stairs.  In some places we had to walk on the edges of the boards or we just walked down the side so we didn't get our feet wet.
Waterfall number 2.  They are not gushing but they fall very gently and are kind of spread out over the rocks.  I guess gently like a fairy!
We had to cross a bridge as the river continued from one waterfall to another.
 Looking back at the bridge we just crossed.  The waterfall just kept going from pond to pond.
This was the very bottom waterfall at Fairy Falls.  You can see how it spreads out over the rocks and falls delicately.  It was very interesting.  We just love these Tree Ferns. 
 Reed and Nada made it to the bottom of the final waterfall.  There were some young adults eating lunch and we had them take our picture.  Now for the hike back out!
We had to stop and rest after the first 200 stairs or so.  This hike in and out was about an hour and a half.
This is a Kauri Tree.  They are protected trees now.  When the Europeans came they stripped the Kauri forests to use the wood for building and furniture.  It is very beautiful wood when it is finished.  The trees grow very straight and tall and get very big around.  That is why they cut them all down.  It is also a very hard wood.

Next stop Karekare.  There were a lot of people here because of the holiday even though it was cool and windy.
This house on the hill was interesting.  Looks like it was built in sections.  We thought it looked like an old mining building.  The falls are just off to the right.
 Karekare falls from the road.
 As we started hiking in there was this little waterfall just off the trail.  The pool would be nice in the Summer!
The tree branches and roots here are vey interesting.  The branches grow down to the ground and then turn and start going back up again.
Karekare Falls.  It was only about a seven minute walk.  You can see again how the waterfall spreads out over the rocks and falls very gently.  Very different.
The vegetation is just so big and beautiful and the colors with the green and the mountain behind is always something Reed is looking to take pictures of.
We just love all the different kinds of trees and their unique branches.
 This is called a Cabbage Tree.
We found a path to Karekare beach and headed to the ocean.

Out in the sun it was finally getting a little warmer but the wind still had a bit of a chill.  This was a gorgeous beach and we pretty much had it to ourselves.
The waves are pretty good here.  On warmer days there are surfers in this water.  Too cold today!
Reed on the black sands of Karekare beach with the waves coming in.
Reed changed a couple of these shots to black and white and really liked them so he asked me to include them.  The sand almost looks glassy in the picture below.

Reed gave Nada a piggy back across this stream to get on the trail back to the car.  It was a beautiful little town and beach.  We will come back here during the warmer months.

When we got back to the car we ate our picnic lunch.  It rained for a few minutes while we were sitting there so that worked out great.

Here in New Zealand the weather can change from clear blue skies to clouds to rain back to clear in a matter of minutes.

We drove to the area for the last hike of the day to Kitekite Falls.  As we started the trail there was a big hole in a tree stump so Reed walked in and wanted his picture taken.  The grandkids would have loved running in and out of this tree stump!
Reed standing on the other side of the hole in the tree stump.
There are always different little flowers, leaves, parasites growing out off the different trees here.
Nada walking along the river on the way to the waterfall.
 Another interesting plant.
In New Zealand they use the Silver Fern on their clothing, on an unofficial flag, merchandise, etc.  It has become a symbol of New Zealand.
Kitekite Falls from across the river.  This was a lookout spot but we wanted to get right to the bottom of the falls.
Oh no, more stairs.  Luckily it was only about 100 of them to climb down and then back out.  Nada does the stairs at the flat all the time but Reed takes the elevator.  He was feeling these stairs by the time we got home.
Standing at the bottom of Kitekite Falls.  Again the water kind of spreads out over the rocks and does not fall in a big gush but lightly over the rocks.
They had this nice little picnic area by the car park. 
The car in the middle is our Toyota Corolla.  It is a pretty nice car.  We had a wonderful day.  Three good hikes and saw a lot of beautiful flowers, trees, waterfalls, ocean and beach.  We feel blessed that we are healthy enough to go and do these hikes and enjoy nature.

On a sad note, on Tuesday the 2nd of June we found out Nada's sister DeLeuw has pancreatic cancer and it had spread into her abdominal cavity.  They are calling it stage four cancer and there is really nothing they can do for it. She is not in any pain and they cannot give her a specific time of how long she has to continue to live.  Nada was very sad and upset.  It is very hard to not be home with our siblings and family when you receive hard news like this.  DeLeuw is a very faithful, strong, active member and has a remarkably good attitude.  She has always been a wonderful sister and good example to us.  We love her and are so grateful for her in our lives.

We hope you have enjoyed visiting the three waterfalls and Karekare Beach with us today.  We love our mission, love the people and love The Lord.  We have ups and downs but somehow he continues to bless and guide us and we continue to move forward doing all we can to help the saints with education here in the Pacific.

We love you all and ask The Lord to bless and guide you in all your good times and hard times.
Until next time, Love Elder and Sister Spencer (aka) Reed and Nada.


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