Hiking in the Backyard

Yesterday, I had another go at my 12 v diesel generator, trying to find out where it leaks diesel. As mentioned in a previous post, it leaks more than it combusts. Diesel costs 2.10 NZD and petrol 2.86 NZD if I drive to the gas station in Claris. Here in Tryphena, it is more pricy, add another 20%. It was windy, with the odd shower but I thought I can find and fix the problem without dismounting the engine from the board it is bolted to. Quite interesting, so far I have experienced often enough first hand that the so-called ‘easy way’ yields frustration and requires more time than the proper way.

But yeah, you gotta have faith, don’t you? Hence, there I was kneeling on a dirty, rocky surface and trying to get my fingers or tools into areas that were too small, not being able to see what I was doing properly as the whole thing was on the ground. Perhaps an hour later I was ready to unbolt the thing, take it into the shed and take her right apart. Show her who is boss. This is how things go wrong. You just want to do a little bit of maintenance or a little bit of repairing, then suddenly you end up mucking things up badly. Luckily, I am aware of this and went back inside had a tea and a bit of a break and then took another look. Suddenly, it was all so easy. There is a hole on the backside of a diesel transferring hose. What to do? The right thing is to take the hose out and swap it for a new one. So, for now it is just duct-taped and I’m sure I’ll find a replacement in the workshop on Monday.

After that ordeal, I cut some firewood and dug some dirt and felt like wandering around the property. Wandering into the backyard, going up the hills into dense, New Zealand sub-tropical bush. The backyard is an area of approximately 500m x 600m and I haven’t explored most of it. The following picture gives a nice overview of the backyard. The A-Frame, where I live, is just about 40 m below the first pine tree and that area, including the house site and fruit trees etc. is one corner of the property. The formal access way, not the driveway I’m using, is actually along the ridge line on top of the hills.

Looks all easy from here. Follow the pines until you end up high on a ridge.

So yeah, the idea was to follow the pine trees up onto the ridge and take a left and check whether I can find the source of my creek. I have to admit that I’ve tried this hike a couple of times until I either get semi-lost or until I feel I’m semi-lost. Today, I was full of confidence and took even my compass with me. My GPS doesn’t have a high sensitivity sensor, so it is almost useless in the bush. I walked up to the furthermost pine and – this is where I should have constantly watched my bearings – although it felt like I was going up in a straight line, I knew that I was veering to the left. It’s a great feeling to be in the bush, I have done many hikes and walks around New Zealand, but it just feels different, when there are no paths or markers. When you know, you are ‘in the wild’. This is kind of what it looks like.

Judging from the contours, this is on the ridge just a bit higher than the furthermost pine.
I should have used the compass for orientation. Instead, I judged my whereabouts according to the contours that I've memorized. The latter is problematic when you are not where you think you are....
This must have been on one of the highest points.
A bit hard going and not necessarily a place you want to find yourself when you are lost.

Basically, you are seeing what I saw. Despite the elevation I couldn’t find a place where I had decent views, often enough you couldn’t see 20 m ahead of you. I knew I was very far up, perhaps 10-30m away from the ridge line, but I decided to turn back. Next time, I’ll go a bit further. I turned back (that’s 180 degrees) and walked for 10 m. It looked different than my way up, another 10 m and I knew that I was veering off my initial course. Suddenly, I was walking down in a bit of a valley, it went up to my left and up to my right. Obviously, this was not the same route I took, which was not a problem but still a wake-up call that I don’t have the experience to ‘just turn back in the bush’. Something to remember when in the back-country…

This ‘valley’ turns out to be the source of the creek on the property. Many rocks have been placed here – I would say by hand – and for the first 100 m all you see is a line of rocks, then you start hearing and seeing the water seeping underneath of them.

There is no shortage of rocks on the property. But more and more, I believe to understand how much thought and hard work has been put in the placement of such rocks.
Perhaps I should have taken a little video. It was amazing to see a shape in the placement of the rocks. Obviously, they were in the V-point of the valley, but large segments joined them perpendicularly from both the left and right.

I’ll be back and explore a bit more. With every hike into the backyard I get a better feeling for the property and can start thinking of how and where to put paths. In the following some pictures of amazing trees. Pictures can only capture so much, but being there amongst these massive trees, some of which fell over many years ago and had 3-4 branches that went up for 20 m or so, with all the noises of the bush and birds is a beautiful and memorable experience.

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After 2-3 hours of wandering around in the backyard, back home by the windmill....

I’m off to dinner, a mate from work told me to come around. Saw him on the road today, he kept saying: ‘ You can’t miss it mate, I’m on Rosalie Bay road. On the right. You can’t miss it’. She’s a long road and if I only knew what to look for that I can’t miss, let’s hope his car is parked outside…

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