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Archive for the ‘Taking a Walk’ Category

We were unsure just where to start our Horseshoe Lake walk. There was no sign of the car park indicated in my vintage walk book, or of the footbridge which Christine remembered, and we presume there have been changes since the earthquakes.

We parked near a jetty where we were delighted by the range of waterfowl all flocking together. There were white ducks:

White ducks

and pukeko

Pukeko

together with mallards, papango/scaup, Canada geese, seagulls, and even a couple of coots. We followed the path southwest until we eventually struck a wet muddy area, complete with toadstools, and decided to turn back.

Toadstools on the damp path

On our return journey we met a territorial swan, determined to defend his mate and teenage cygnets.

Swan with three cygnets

When we stopped for morning tea a friendly cat approached us, but we we careful not to encourage it in case it might fancy a duckling dinner. The path in the other direction was newly sealed. There was a seat which had been donated by Barrie Shipley and the Isaac team, and bore the legend: 24 hours is a long time in contracting. Take a moment and enjoy the view.

Ruth enjoyed the view from the Isaac seat

There was a great deal of new planting and I note in this morning’s Press that volunteers are sought for a Forever Trees planting day on 3 July.

New planting at Horseshoe Lake

Tī Kōuka/cabbage trees are one of the most common native trees still found around the city and there are some fine specimens at Horseshoe Lake.

Tī Kōuka

The lake was probably once a loop of the Ōtākaro/Avon River that was cut off when the main current found a more direct line of fall. In pre-European times it was the site of a Māori settlement called Te Oranga. The lake’s original name was Waikākāriki. Wai means water, and kākāriki has various meanings including green, a type of green lizard, or a green parakeet or parrot. In 1904 11.7 hectares of lake, swampland, and north bank area were reserved as a wildfowl sanctuary, and boating, fishing, and shooting were prohibited.

There’s still lots of this area for us to explore and we will investigate it again another day.

So many birds at Horseshoe Lake
an ideal spot to take a break

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Walking among trees is a particular pleasure on these sunny autumn days. I try to walk for 20-30 minutes every day, and it’s always good to have a destination such as the library, the postbox, or the Art Gallery. On days when none of these is required I walk beside the river, around the Avon Loop, on what used to be Oxford Terrace. If I have plenty of energy and time I return along the Cambridge Terrace side of the river. When I need to have a shorter walk I come home along Kilmore Street.

There are usually other people on the river path. Some are running, some pushing baby buggies, some accompanied by dogs. I always give a greeting, except to those who are concentrating on phones. Most respond, and some stop to make conversation.

If it’s a weekday there will be the happy sound of small children playing in the pre-school at the south-east end of the Loop. There’s usually litter to be collected and deposited in the nearest bin. Lately I’ve contemplated the idea of wearing gloves and carrying a rubbish bag for the more objectionable items, but haven’t yet done so. Today there were several shot glasses on the roadside (which I didn’t pick up) and it occurred to me to wonder whether the litterers could be identified by their DNA.

It’s always a delight to admire the trees and the birds (except perhaps the Canada Geese who leave unpleasant deposits on the path).

Willow tree in the sun
Autumn leaves

Today there was a sleeping bag wedged under the arm of a bench and I wondered whether someone had slept outside last night when the temperature went down to a freezing 0 degrees.

Sleeping bag

When I arrive home I reward my exercise by doing the daily Wordle. Today I failed to guess it within the allotted six tries. A couple of other times I’ve needed to ask a friend to give me a clue, but this is the first time I’ve failed completely, and I realised I hadn’t been concentrating hard enough on the letters I’d already confirmed. Maybe I’ll do better tomorrow.

Do you have a favourite place to walk where there are trees?

The Loop’s a pleasant place to walk,
admire the trees, and sometimes talk

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Walking around the Loop I heard a strange sound and realised that a man walking behind me had shoes that squeaked. Luckily he was walking faster than me and soon overtook me. I quickly snapped his photo, and as he strode ahead the squeak diminished and all was peaceful again.

Man with squeaky shoes

I remember hearing that if shoes squeak it means you haven’t paid for them. In older days new shoes often squeaked until they were broken in, and if you were poor and had to buy them on credit they stopped squeaking about the same time you paid them off. If only one shoe squeaks does that mean you got them for half price?

Apparently a squeak can be because there’s moisture in the shoe and this can be cured with talcum powder. Sometimes the squeak is because the soles are too smooth and roughening them with sandpaper may help.

You may appear a little freaky
if your shoes tend to be quite squeaky

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Ngā Puna Wai was the area Christine and I chose for our walk today in warm autumn sunshine. This wetland is in the Wigram Basin, next to the A & P showgrounds and the new Ngā Puna Wai sports hub. It’s a lovely rural spot close to the city with much native planting, streams, and lakes.

Stream at Ngā Puna Wai
Geese on the lake

The wetland captures and treats stormwater before it flows into the Ōpāwaho/Heathcote River, and helps reduce the risk of flooding during heavy rainfall. There are signs to warn you that stormwater in the wetland may contain pollution and toxic algae and you are advised to stay out of the water.

NIWA monitoring station
There are horses in the field
and sheep

The sports facilities all look fresh and tidy and there’s even a throws area with a sign warning “You are now entering a throws area. Please be vigilant at all times for flying objects.”

Throws area

We wondered whether this might be for frisbees, but I gather it’s used for shot put, discus, and hammer throw.

It was good to explore somewhere we hadn’t been before.

The wetland keeps the river clean
amid a tranquil rural scene

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Christine and I decided this morning we would walk into town and try to find those of the murals from the Flare Festival which Stephen and I had missed last week. Down Manchester Street we found a display for Slap City, a recent Paste-up and Sticker Festival which I hadn’t known about.

Slap City display

Murals which had been only partly painted last week were now complete, and we were delighted to find this giant cat mural by Swiftmantis. It’s actually right outside the part of the Little High Eatery where Stephen and I had lunch last week, but we’d missed it. A passing woman kindly took our picture holding the cat’s paws.

Giant cat mural

Round the corner we found a 2019 mural by DCypher and OiYou showing local historical scenes including the McKenzie and Willis building, all painted as a negative film strip.

McKenzie & Willis building

By this time we needed refreshment and stopped at Lemon Tree for morning tea. This café is an old favourite and while the ambience inside is fascinating, I prefer to sit outside these days as a Covid precaution. (We got a passing dog walker to take our photo.)

Ruth & Christine at Lemon Tree

We found a further Flare mural at 87 Manchester Street but weren’t sure just what this one was supposed to be. I discovered later it is by Ikarus and shows an eclectic array of video games and cartoon characters.

Mural at 87 Manchester Street

Another Flare mural was at 198 St Asaph Street, painted by Meep, a local artist:

Mural @ 198 St Asaph Street

Heading down Colombo Street we had a chance to enjoy the bird mural on the South Frame which I’d often seen from the car, but not been close to before:

Bird mural

Near this was a portrait of Sir Ernest Rutherford by Jacob Yikes, DCypher, and Ikarus, which is part of the Flare Festival.

Sir Ernest Rutherford

So much to see on city walls
great street art work that just enthralls

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As I walked towards the river early yesterday morning I thought how lucky I am to be free of most responsibilities. When you’re no longer in paid work every day is like a holiday, especially when the weather is warm and sunny. As I continued along among beautiful trees, surrounded by the song of birds and cicadas I found I was feeling heavy, both physically and emotionally. A friendly fluffy dog approached me with tail wagging, and a monarch butterfly flew by, yet neither of these lifted my spirits. I looked up and saw the waning moon outlined in a clear blue sky, reminding me that there is always darkness somewhere.

Tiny moon in the sky

The date being 22 February was the reason for my heaviness. The earthquake anniversary is always a sombre time. At 12.45pm I took some flowers and went over to The Bricks beside the river, where five local people had gathered. One woman had brought a bag full of dahlia flowers which she shared. After 12.51 and some silent contemplation we each threw our flowers into the river to the disgust of the ducks who thought we may have brought treats for them. A sign on the riverbank warned the water is currently polluted and contact should be avoided.

We quietly dispersed, and after lunch on the patio I snoozed for an hour, then listened to the radio which informed me protestors and police were in a standoff outside Parliament, and Putin had moved troops into Ukraine for “peacekeeping” reasons. I longed for some encouraging news.

I’m glad the earthquake day has passed
and hope we’ll get good news at last

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Christine and I were glad to have good weather for our walk at Roto Kohatu Reserve, especially as we’d previously postponed because of rain. The reserve is close to the city at the northern end of Sawyers Arms Road, and the two lakes there, named Tahi and Rua, are the largest body of fresh water in Christchurch that is suitable for swimming. There was a signpost near the start, but few indicators further on.

Signpost at start of walk

We followed a pathway shared with cyclists, then realised there was another track closer to the lake. In one area there were yellow flowers beside the path and we wondered what these were. Do you know?

Yellow flowers beside the path

We walked around Lake Rua, a distance of only 2 km.

Lake Rua

The two lakes are person-made, from an old quarry later used as a landfill. There are signs warning that underwater hazards include tree stumps, cars, and concrete. There were people in kayaks out on the lake, and we saw (and heard!) one jet-boat.

People in kayaks

A group of intermediate school children were being taught the basic rules of sailing, with small yachts kept in lakeside containers.

School children learning to sail

At another point someone had constructed steps where you could climb up to grab a rope, and swing out over the lake.

Climb up, swing out, and dive in

Where Rua almost meets Tahi there was a fast-running stream, too wide for me to jump across. I wished someone had thought to put a stepping stone in the middle! The only way to cross was to step in the water, and my sneakers got thoroughly soaked. Just as well the day was warm.

Stream safely crossed

This was a very pleasant stroll around a lake with plenty to see – swimmers, a paddle boarder, a shag, and a coot with two offspring. It was especially good to have an outing with no need to wear a mask.

When I got home I found a sticker on the lamppost outside the cottage. It had a picture of a masked man, with the words “Don’t be a coward”, and a website. I didn’t check further, presume it was put there by an anti-mandate protester, and resent their using my area for their propaganda. I put it in the red bin, and washed my hands thoroughly.

A good day for a stroll to take
around this recreational lake

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Christine and I decided to explore Te Rauakaaka Reserve as recommended by my friend Gallivanta. Internet information about this reserve is sparse, but we knew we wanted to go to Kainga and turned off the Main North Road where a signpost indicated this. We later realised we were actually on the Lower Styx Road, and should have taken a turning further along. It didn’t matter because Lower Styx Road took us through Brooklands and on to Kainga Road. We were just approaching it from the opposite direction from what we’d intended.

According to the internet you can walk to the reserve from Pikes Track, but we couldn’t see any path here, so went back and parked by the Stewarts Gully Sailing Club.

Stewarts Gully Sailing Club

Beside the Club was a building labelled Avon Rowing Club, which seemed out of place. Kainga has many interesting old cottages and houses of character.

House at Kainga

Maori used the area near the present day reserve as a food gathering site and the name is believed to derive from Te Rau-a-Te-Kaka (the gathering of Te Kaka/the parrot). The railway line between Christchurch and Kaiapoi was opened in 1872, and Stewarts Gully became a popular holiday resort and picnic spot for the citizens of Christchurch.

Entrance to Te Rauakaaka Reserve

The path meanders pleasantly alongside the Waimakariri River, and we enjoyed the whispering of the leaves in the silver birch trees. We saw just one jet boat.

Jet boat on the river

Two men were fishing near the path. They hadn’t caught anything yet but said they sometimes get salmon, and often kahawai.

Fishers on the riverbank

When we stopped for morning tea I saw a dark body undulating in the water. Perhaps it would have been a large eel?

On returning home I did my daily Wordle, pleased to solve it on the second try. Maybe my brain had been stimulated by the fresh air.

A pleasant walk along the river
with rustling leaves
all set a-quiver

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Despite the drizzly weather Christine and I sallied forth to do the Bishopdale and Papanui Walk. We started at Bishopdale Park, behind the Mall, and headed south-east along various streets until we reached Edgar Macintosh Park. This was developed in the early 1960s and named after Edgar Hika Macintosh who was the City Surveyor from 1942, because of his work in negotiating recreational reserve contributions from the large subdivisions done during his time. Surrounded by trees, the park is the home of the Marist Albion Rugby Club and has a well-equipped children’s playground with paddling pool.

Playground at Edgar Macintosh Park
Avenue of trees at the park

Here we took the “wrong” sealed path which led to our re-tracing our steps and eschewing the part of the walk which goes through St James’ Park.

Papanui was the original Māori name for the Bishopdale and Papanui district and is the Māori word for a platform in a tree from which birds are snared. This name comes from the time when the area was covered by a large stand of forest, dominated by totara, matai, kahikatea, and kanuka, similar to the smaller stand of bush that now remains in Riccarton.

The streets and houses we passed were mainly well-presented, with established trees and singing birds, but there was little character to inspire me to take a photograph. The small pocket reserves found in other areas were lacking here, and we ended up having our morning snack in a bus shelter on Harewood Road.

We had intended to visit the Bishopdale Library, but by the time we got back to the Mall we were weary and couldn’t be bothered going through the hassle of donning masks and showing vaccine passes.

We did not finish all the trail
round Papanui and Bishopdale

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The damp weather was not conducive to beach walking so we parked beside the Botanic Gardens and walked around the river. It was good weather for ducks, and we were intrigued to see one that had a crest on its head:

Crested duck (behind the white one)

We also saw two families of appealing paradise ducklings:

Our aim had been to see some of the Scape 2021 sculptures. The Native Section by Aroha Novak, on the Museum tower is an index of indigenous fauna removed in the creation of Hagley Park.

The Native Section

Resilience Training by Olivia Webb re-considers the four Cardinal Virtues and replaces them with values that better support resilience now and in the future. It’s a voluntary public performance artwork, with performances on Saturdays at 3pm.

Resilience Training

We appreciated the Nikau palms in the North Quad of the Arts Centre:

Nikau Palms

There was also a piano we hadn’t seen before:

Piano at the Arts Centre

After morning tea at Bunsen we walked along the Worcester Boulevard and noticed a Tardis at the Astro Lounge.

When we’d entered the Gardens we’d seen pair of shoes abandoned on the riverbank. By the time we returned someone had placed them on a picnic table.

In central Christchurch, walking by
all kinds of sights will meet your eye

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