Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hunua Ranges

After a weekend of debauchery, playing dress-up and indulging a bit too much, Travis and I set out on a mini-adventure in the wilderness. This wilderness happens to still be governed by the Auckland Regional Council, so it wasn't that far out of town, but it was still an adventure nonetheless.

The Hunua Ranges
can be found just south-east of Auckland. We drove out there late afternoon on Tuesday, and got prepped for our hike. I was told beforehand this was very rough terrain, rough enough for me to spend nearly $200 on hiking boots and socks. Let me say, they came in very handy. I walked through a creek and my feet stayed dry.

The first 90 minutes of the trek were fairly uneventful. I was the pace-setter - going fairly slowly to pace myself for later on. We got to a bunch of stairs, which was nice, but that meant that we eventually had to come down - and come down we did. We came down the side of the mountain through dense bush where a path was marked, but barely visible. I used my hands to hold on to tree trunks most of the way down, and when hands weren't enough, I held on to that tree for dear life with my whole arm. It came in particularly handy when the ground disappeared from under me, and I was left swinging around the tree, hanging on by my arm. Fortunately, there was only 2.5 hours of this downhill battle. We scaled another hill, and we had lunch. The sun was shining, we took off our wet clothes - believe me, my woolies were soaked through from sweating - and they were nearly dry after our lunch break.

Another 3.5 hours hike home. Travis took some notes - because that was the purpose of his trip - and we found some decent places to set up an array of microphones in the forest. The plan for his research is to set up an array of microphones to record bird calls in the forest, particularly of Kokako birds. Their call is really peculiar, and they're a fairly rare bird, but they've been repopulated in this area. The idea is to keep track of the location of the birds by hearing their calls.

We finally got back, had a nice warm shower, and made the trek back into town. Pictures will be posted when I get ahold of Travis's camera again. I'm backlogged nearly a month now.

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