Monday, November 24, 2008

A Bit Like Home

Last weekend the weather was a bit unpredictable, but rather than stay inside all day we took a walk on Sunday in part of Wellington's awesome urban green space.

We decided to walk the Ngaio Gorge Track, which follows the Kaiwharawhara Stream through the suburbs, in a narrow park between steep hillsides. (Maori place name pronunciation guide: Ngaio = n-eye-oh, Kaiwharawhara = k-eye-far-ah-far-ah.)

It reminded me a bit of Toronto, where I used to live. Toronto has no mountains or major natural landscape features (except for Lake Ontario, which is not good for hiking!) but what it does have is lots of ravines.

Most of the urban trails in Toronto wind along through the bottoms of ravines. Many are interconnected with cycling paths, picnic areas and other conveniences. They aren't exactly remote, but they do a surprisingly good job of making you feel removed from the city.

The Ngaio Gorge was a short (a couple of kilometres each way) stroll with not much to challenge the hiker, but it was a pleasant enough path through regenerating native bush, with reminders that this ravine has formerly been used for a number of different things including factories, and national defense!
There are a lot of sewer-related constructions which take away that "back to nature" feel a bit. However, you can't ask too much of the urban trail.

All in all, it beat the hell out of sitting in front of the TV all afternoon.

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