The land of sheep and chocolate

Monday, January 01, 2007

Baby Trekking

We've been avoiding the Tararua Forest Park ever since we got stuck in the mud with two dogs and a baby. But being able to tramp through the forests is one of the main reasons we came to live down here and it is a shame we've allowed ourselves to be put off.

To be fair, we have to consider Lily and whether its sensible to venture into the mountains with a nine-month old baby. And then there are the dogs to worry about. Thay are allowed in, but they are also guarenteed to be a constant nuisance, wondering off the paths and quite possibly slipping or falling down the slopes where I don't want to have to follow them. So when we've been out walking, we've gone elsewhere. But for new year, we had a visitor; Nick, who is on a round the world trip and determined to make the most of it. Time for us to take the park out of the too difficult bin.

As with our last visit, we were filled with a sense of dread on the way in, mostly due to the sign erected by the killjoys of the Levin Rotary Club, to warn about the dangers within. Don't come in here without full military style preparations or you'll probably die drowning in freezing mud is essentially what it says. It's perhaps a bit over the top.

There is a lot of mud though. More rain falls on the Tararua Ranges than you would ever believe possible and its not been especially dry recently. And to reach the forest you have to negotiate a mile or so of mud. Not being properly equipped with boots, I danced across the fields, leaping from stones to dry patches until the inevitable happened and found myself ankle deep in mud which was probably a blessing because from that point on I could relax.

As it turned out, the forest is well worth the effort. The paths are narrow, muddy and often difficult to negotiate, but the woods are cool and untouched, with lots of different trees, ferns and that sort of thing.

And Lily had a whale of a time, strapped to my front in a sling. She whooped and wriggled with excitement as we climbed up the slippery paths, and tried to grab loose branches when we went past them. When I got tired, Nick took over which only added to the excitement as far as she was concerned. It just shows that having a baby is no bar to adventurous activities and if you have one, I urge you to carry them into the mountains whenever you get the chance. As far as I am concerned, the Levin Rotary Club and their sign can both get stuffed.


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