Paeroa to Waitekauri Packhorse Track

A picture perfect day
With just a southern breath
A quick trip on the bus…
And Maggie counted us.

First stop a reservoir
Of purest water free
Of heavy metals taste.
We’re not in any haste.

Up through the bush
Black fantail cheers us on,
Ginormous Rimu towers…
Could linger here for hours.

Farmland top for lunch!
The Firth of Thames in view,
Cows chew without a fuss…
And Maggie counted us.

Down and eastward into cover
Giant pines
But not in line…
And then a mine.

Muddy patches on the track
Waihi Basin now to see
On a “paper” road we caper
“Pity its not blotting paper!”

Then down to tarmac
“Spot-on” time
Home, our day trip route to sus…
Maggie you can count on us!

Bob Mills, 13 April 2012

Waiorongomai Discovery

The Day
Mount Te Aroha high
Under giant blue sky.
The i-site provided
A map (and confided
The one in the valley
Was pinched) as we rally
Together and start.
And our party depart. 

The Guide
John was in charge
(No Regiment Sarge)
But with knowledge and nouse
To Hardy’s old house
He led us and knew
When to stop for a view
Or tell us a story
Of miners’ past glory. 

Low Level Drive
The hole in the wall
Was as big and as tall
As the loco supplied
And though it arrived
It never was used
And miners were bruised
In body and ego.
(It’s upward that we go). 

Butler’s Incline
A Smoko beeline!
To Butler’s Incline
Downwardly dangling
Twenty-five-degree angling
Four-hundred metres…
(Drinking down litres).
To High Level Pack Track
(Still upward with backpack). 

A clearing for tents
Holding four hundred gents
Employed on the stope
Up the back, up a slope.
(The biggest we’re told)
Bearing rock-bearing gold.
All gone but for rubble
To show for their trouble. 

Hardy’s Hut
Remarkably good
The condition of wood
But poor in construction
Has lead to destruction.
No home for the last
Old miner now past.
(Wasps joined us for lunch
But staunch was our bunch). 

The Top Stope
A dip to a stream
(We’re going full steam)
Bent tunnel came next.
Where is it, we’re vexed?
A scramble up roots
And yells and then hoots
At the tunnel and shaft
Devised with great craft. 

May Queen Incline
Much shorter by far
Than the Butler’s, but Ah!
We almost abseil
Down the track, (not the rail).
More sleepers are ready
To lay straight and steady
To make it look new
Like a “bought one” to view. 

Buck Rock Track
Past stables and adits
Through easy and bad bits
The highlight awaited
With breathe that was bated.
The vaulted high ceilings
And tunnels and feelings
Of claus-tro-pho-bia,
(At last we-are-he-re). 

Bendigo Mine Adit
A stroll through mud
In an adit and thud
As my head hit the roof
(As if I had proof
Of the need for great care
Of the pitfalls and where
Darkness resides
Danger too hides). 

Bendigo Mine Stope
The vines gave us handles
And LED lights the candles
The fern stopped us falling
In gaping holes yawning
And John stopped us ending
Our tramp by descending
In bottomless pits
And breaking in bits. 

The Day in Review
We did linger longer
And if we were stronger
Would stay and just wander
Beyond and beyonder.
But just like the miners
We looked at our timers
They failed, we succeeded…
(And showers are needed). 

So thanks to the i-site
Who gave us an insight
To historic places
That showed us the bases
Where wealth from the ground
Was begrudgingly found…
(And thanks to you John
For leading us on)!

Bob Mills, 14 April 2012

Mount Eliza Walk

Keith and seventeen keen bods
Set off to scale the mount
Relaxed but focused trampers
Life stories now recount. 

So easy just to chat and share
Our journeys as we climb
With tree and fern and bird and bush
And snapped-off creeper vine. 

Atop we stop and rest and chew
And drink and chat some more
To the west, Hauraki
And to the east, a shore. 

To the north, The Sentinal
And ridges everywhere.
The best routes pointed out and planned
For next time we get there. 

There’s a mine at Mount Eliza
With a dank and dripping door
Is it weta on the ceiling?
Or wetter on the floor? 

A GPS-marked Geo Case
Hides if you care to look.
Swap a little trinket,
Sign a little book. 

And onward down to cross the stream
Light dancing in the sun
Hearts less troubled, shared, relieved
Now with Nature one. 

The weary way back to the car
To restart busy lives.
The glimpse of sanity soon gone
Bees back to work in hives.

Bob Mills, 18 April 2012

Grace Darling Mine

Grace Darling was the daughter
Of a Cornish lighthouse keeper.
At just sixteen, life caught her
Rowing like mad,
In lifeboat with dad,
Through a storm to a shipwreck.
Six times to the rescue,
Six times to return,
Six times was too much
For her body
And such
A short life was gone. 

Grace Darling the mine
Came later in time
In Waikino valley.
Digging like mad
Cornish son and dad
Seeking their fortune.
Reminded of home;
Reminded of hope;
Reminded of Grace;
With not much to show
But grit
And determination. 

Grace Darling the stream
Walked in April sun
By ECHO’s of the present.
Chatting like mad,
Companionship had,
Enjoying the warmth.
Reflecting on Blessings;
Reflecting on Journeys;
Reflecting on Grace.
With so many riches,
Health and possessions.
Treasures untold.

Bob Mills, 10 April 2012

William Wright Falls

Urology (Waikato)
Employs Doc “William Wright”
He fixes drains and dribbles
That keep you up at night.
From Waihi Beach tramp northward,
To Falls called “William Wright”,
Its dribbles and its trickles,
A much more pleasant sight! 

Pressure high, the forecast,
Pleasant sun and calm.
Colin leads the party
Cliffs and Nikau Palm.
Walkers bunch in chatting clumps
Preliminaries shared,
Common ground is quickly found
While runners by us hared. 

Orokawa Bay is spread
Before us now for tea.
Sandwiches on sand which is
Unfolding to the sea.
Ten times we crossed a stream to reach
The Falls and take our snaps.
Ten times we crossed to get us back.
An extra stroll perhaps? 

Yes! Onward to Homunga Bay
Nine trampers soon decide,
In smaller groups, the stalwart troops,
Used good track signs for guide.
So well rewarded by the views,
As well as picnic venue,
By a shaded waterfall,
With lunch now on the menu. 

No lesser was the journey back
As southern aspects shouted,
“Snap just one more captured memory”
(In case our recall doubted!)
A busy beach at journey’s end
And car warmed up and cosy.
Farewells were made and boots peeled off
The world again smells rosy!

Bob Mills, 21 April 2012