The day we went up Taranaki Mountain
Taranaki is a magnificent high imposing mountain on the West side of the North Island of New Zealand.
The day we went to view the mountain, it was sunny and there was very little cloud on the mountain as we started out. During the time we travelled through the countryside towards Taranaki, the clouds were gathering around Taranaki Mountain quickly.
Hedge groves at the foot hills of Taranaki:
What fascinated me in the foothills of the mountain was how the trees and undergrowth was so densely crammed together and precisely cut back from the road. Like high neat sheer walls on each side of the road… and… no rubbish anywhere.
It was a WOW and Gob-smashing moment for me! I’ve never seen such precision work in all my life. There is no careful neatness back in my own country of South Africa. Truly New Zealanders love their country and work hard to keep it in ship-shape condition!
I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo of those neatly cut trees and tightly packed undergrowth on both sides of the road for you to see.
The trimming is there to allow the cars and buses to pass through the thick complex bush, along the ever winding road up to the parking area, halfway up the mountain. The road is so narrow, that every now and again pass-point intersections are provided, where vehicles squeeze pass each other both ways. It sort of adds a little held-your-breathe spectacle to the event.
In a very short time the weather had changed:
If you want to know, it took us just over half an hour to get up the East side of the mountain. But by that time the mist and cloud had completely covered the top half of the mountain. The transformation is somewhat theatrical and powerful to witness. It shows you just how quickly the weather over the mountain can change.
The panoramic lookout view:
We stopped at the parking lot and took a walk along a designated path to the lookout. See two photos of that path below. And when I got to the lookout I took these photos of the mountain side.
And then looking out over the countryside you realize how high up you are. Gosh, it didn’t seem so, as you wind up through the foothills on your way up the mountain to the parking spot!
Then I thought that’s great but… wait a moment,
What’s at my feet?
But if you stop and look down deep into the undergrowth, you discover the delicate growth of moss, lichen and ferns grown there.
Through the whole trip you become aware why New Zealand’s icon of the fern is on their flag! Ferns are everywhere. In this case the misty conditions are a perfect habitat.
I was captivated by the abstract patterns the fragile undergrowth made there. It made me think of a friend of mine who loves fairies. I’m sure if she was there, she would have expected to see some tiny fairies to be secretly living right there… even waving up at us!
Even though summer was upon us,
You can’t but think what it must be like there in wintertime.
At that moment, for us, here was only a little snow left in the folds and at the top of Taranaki. But we were told that in the wintertime people came there to ski down the mountain through the heavy snow laden mountain slopes.