Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Adventuesdays: Wairere Falls

So, in my spare time (ha ha ha ha ha...) I just love walking/hiking/tramping/exploring/discovering secret swim holes/climbing waterfalls. Like if I wasn't able to own horses anymore I'd happily take up adventuring as my hobby. And what sane individual residing in New Zealand doesn't love adventuring?! This country is stunning. My good friend, Katie, introduced me to car camping not so long ago and I think that once a week I'd just pack up my car, hit the road and get lost in whatever nature had to offer.

And seriously, it has a lot to offer! My favourite hike so far was an almost vertical ascent to the top of the North Island's tallest waterfall. The views from the top as I sat and caught my breath, with my bare toes dug into some mossy pebbles on the edge of the waterfall and gripping onto a boulder for security, quite literally took my breath away.

I visited Wairere Falls with my sister, Coco, and by the time we reached our destination at the top we were both feeling the intense burn in our thighs. Our favourite sibling bonding sessions seem to occur perched atop a mountain, a waterfall or a horse together, so a lot of my adventures involve climbing something with her. 

This particular walk was one of the most difficult; it won't knock a particular Auckland trail off top spot in terms of difficulty but it got close. We'd get through what felt like a huge chunk of the trail, only to reach a clearing and see our destination still looming ahead. Still, there's worse views to be seen and that's for sure. 

In New Zealand, what I refer to as "adventuring" is better known as tramping; as in tramping through leaves, mud, tree roots, bush and other untouched characteristics of nature. Oftentimes you'll find yourself on a DoC (Department of Conservation) marked walk, only to discover that you're left to your own devices to pick your way through the bush. It's not always a case of walking, but sometimes crawling, scrambling or sliding your way through. Excellent cross training!

Personally, I think it is important to work on rider fitness just as much as, if not more so, than a horse's. A rider is the horse's trainer, and is a lot more effective if they can hold their own throughout a training session. I have miles to go to reach my goal fitness, in this post in particular I share one example of how my lack of fitness holds Oscar back. Popular activities to compliment riding typically involve yoga or pilates type training, but just getting out and walking, which is the defining movement of human beings, is so underrated. 

Another advantage for me is that exercising outdoors suits me better than chewing through numbers on a treadmill inside an air conditioned gym, and the scenery distracts me from the fact that I'm actually exercising. Bcuz why exercise when you can eat all the fries?!
A free swim thrown in completes the deal. 

Tramping is my second favourite form of excercise for many reasons, but the thing I love the most is that it goes a long way to engage all of your senses, which in other words means it's hella interesting. 

On this tramp in particular, the air is so fresh and so crisp - even with the sticky rays from the sun attempting to burn us to crisp, each intake of air was thoroughly invigorating. It's as if your personal energy levels are feeding off the processes going on around you. You can hear the (almost deafening up close) tumbling and crashing of water bouncing off the platforms on the face of the rock with every step, and the singing of birds going about their business with the faint clicking of cicadas in the distance. The views leave nothing to be desired, whilst the clean cool water rushes all around you and cools you off when you reach the top. 

Or at a midway point if you need to cool down right there and then..

After all the climbing and splashing around and clambering over rocks and tree logs, and general engaging of all muscle groups you are aware or unaware of, you will have likely worked up an appetite. My sister and I are suckers for hot, extra salted McDonald's fries and it's almost tradition that we finish our adventures with fries fresh out the basket. 
(Life tip: ask for your fries unsalted, and then request salt sachets. You'll get hotter, fresher fries that way!)
Food also tastes a million times better after you've worked for it, so there's the taste component of my tramping statement too, ha..

As tramping is a secondary love of mine, I thought it'd be fun to share my adventures on my blog - even if it's just for personal satisfaction to be able to look back and reflect on good times. I did think that a lot of other blogs that I read and follow have overseas authors, the exception obviously being Becks', and so maybe visitors coming from my favourite blogs will enjoy an up close and personal peek into some secret New Zealand spots! There's more to us than earthquakes, volcanoes and hobbits, I promise!

I hope to share an Adven-tuesday (adventure-tuesday, yeah?) every third Tuesday of the month, and I'll do my best to stagger them fairly across the different regions to show how varied the landscape is depending where you go. 

Do any of my horse-riding readers have a secondary hobby/way to get fit that also helps them in the saddle? Is New Zealand on anyone's bucket list?