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cornflakes for lunch

 

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Local voyages are like people you see every day: changes take place so gradually they are not really obvious. Occasional sudden changes disrupt the familiarity, some trees are cut down, a beard is shaved off, but the new look quickly becomes the old look and the slow changes continue invisibly.

Trips taken once in a while can have a lot more surprises.

Yesterday we took our first ride through the Moerangi Trail for this summer, and it was both familiar and new at the same time. Even though we are lucky enough to live near this patch of old forest, we don’t go very often. It’s a mission, it takes all day, and it makes our legs hurt.

The forest is as old as anything else in New Zealand except the rocks themselves, but the bike trail only dates back 5 years or so. Every time we do it there are new things growing along the edges, some stuff gets going and throttles whatever was there before, and then some other stuff gets the upper hand. A twice annual trim back takes place, and the process repeats.

Weather makes big changes. Slips are commonplace on the steep mountain sides, so there are new places where the trail gets narrow. Trees fall down, washouts develop. Every so often something really big happens: a side canyon opened up a year ago that would hold a four lane road.

This time there was a new feature that covered most of the trail. Leaf litter in native forests can be like cornflakes, tiny brown leaves dry up and carpet any bare ground, making a fantastic surface to ride on. Some of it must have been there on previous visits but this time it seemed much more luxurious. With no season of falling leaves it must take a long time to build up, a constant and gradual dusting that is now primed and ready for bike-surfing.



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