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Winter Solstice


The weather was again glorious and we planned a ride with Simon, Cara and Aria. The area west of Mapua is our favourite place to ride these days. The scenery is magnificent and the roads are relatively quiet. We met in Mapua and headed over to the inland highway. We had noticed lots of interesting looking roads off inland highway before, and had seen mention of fords on the map. Given the amount of rain of late, we figured the fords might be deep and best avoided, but as we passed Wills Road, we spotted a bridge, and decided we should have a look. A closer look at the map revealed a bridge over the first stream, but a ford later on.
We convinced Simon and Cara to go have a look anyway. We headed down a lovely quiet road and as we rounded a corner and headed down a hill, we spotted a sign that suggested the crossing might not be great for cars, and suggested a bridge on Edward's Street. We were just trying to decide whether to get our feet wet when Cara said she wanted to take the bridge.
Of course we all thought she meant going back out to the main road and up to Edward's, but then she pointed out the little footbridge overhead that we had all failed to notice! I'm curious if the other roads also have these bridges!

We road back up the little hill and were all amazed that we'd missed the very obvious path and bridge!


It was a great swing bridge and we caught some good oscillations as we crossed, I thought John was fooling around weaving, but thankfully didn't realise it was the swing bridge til we were off! Aria loved the swinging!
One of the great things about riding in this area is the views of the mountains, and today they were slightly snow capped, making for really lovely views.
We had all packed sandwiches and sweets, which we finally learned today are what kiwis refer to as lollies. Wanna lolly is kiwi for would you like a sweet. I've also seen it used to refer to a cushy fun job. It was another one of those days where it's too easy to just sit and enjoy the sunshine. We did this several times along the way.
We stopped a second time at the Old Hop Kiln tea room in Neudorf. The Devon Tea is a real treat there. A Devonshire tea comes with a scone, cream and jam, and in this case a to die for view!
The next day, we awoke to crystal clear skies for the mid Winter Solstice. Our friends, Ross and Marion called and suggested an easy walk up Mt. Duppa. Ross now has joined the ranks of those I refuse to trust when referring to anything as easy. The walk was lovely, but it started out straight up and continued that way! Marion drove us out to the trail head, and I had begun to wonder if we'd have to do any climbing at all, as we gained quite a bit of elevation in the car. But I need not have worried about a lack of exercise as we climbed 2000 feet to our lunch stop on top! The climb up was all through native bush with an occasional clear spot where we could see out. But once on top, 360 degree views left me even more breathless.
Ross brought along croissants and made us wonderful sandwiches. They brought a French Press coffee pot and made fresh coffee. We had filled our vacuum bottles with latte, so we had a wonderful coffee stop on top.
In an amazing coincidence, Ross had pointed out a lovely property on the way out where friends of theirs were hoping to build a house soon. So here in the middle of the wilderness, who should we bump into but these same friends climbing the same trail! The six of us had a grand time chatting over lunch coming back down together.