Sunday 17 Feburay.
The weather broke this week, and a series of fronts dropped a fair bit of rain in the northern parts of Wairarapa, where the Ruamahanga rises. Masterton missed most of the rain, although the air did turn quite a bit cooler.
On Saturday, the weather was not too bad, and I thought it might have been possible to go down the river on the next stage, but the river was up quite a bit, and also looked very dirty. I decided to take a break and wait for the better weather and improved river conditions of Sunday.
Sunday started cloudy, but the river had subsided a lot from the day before, so I packed up and went north – in order to trek south.
The first crossing of the river – and there were many crossings – convinced me that there was a lot more water in the river as the force of the flow had my trekking stick vibrating!
The journey was a slow one, as the river moved into more inhabited territory. I saw my first car wreck on the banks, and found much more litter on, and in, the river as I moved down towards the Te Ore Ore Road bridge.
I seemed to be accompanied by pied stilts all day today, wheeling and yapping above me. There were often family groups – four or five birds flying together. As I arrived at the Te Ore Ore Road bridge I came across a group of young people playing on a motor cycle, graffiti, and a pile of rubbish.
The river is slowing down all the time – getting wider and deeper as other rivers and stream join in. I walked around the perimeter of Henley Lake and stopped at the confluence of the Waipoua to have a cup of tea. There is virtually no water in the Waipoua at all, and there is an toxic algae in the river. Needless to say I brought my own drinking water.
The walk down to Wardell’s Bridge was saddening really, as this stretch of the river has two major features – Masterton’s rubbish dup, and it’s sewage works.
The Canada Geese, that had been missing from the morning’s walk, were back in evidence in the afternoon, with three or four flocks on the wing. The birds are very cautious, as will take flight whenever I get within three hundred metres. Once, I saw a family of spur-winged plovers flying with the geese. Looked a little odd.
There were a few black swan on the river near the end of the walk, and a number of black-fronted dotterels scattered along the walk. There was also a confident young pied stilt, pecking away at the edge of the river.
The most unusual thing today? There appears to be a teepee on the hills above the Black Rock Road. Something to look into, so to speak.