Saturday, October 06, 2007

Day 10 Pakiri to Mangawhai Heads

Day 10 Pakiri to Mangawhai Heads
Location: 36 05 17.5S, 174 35 20.5E
Distance: 42k
Time: 3 hours 32 minutes
Avg Speed: 12kph
Terrain: Rolling

What a nice day. We had a little rain during the night but awoke to partly sunny skies this morning. Our goal for the day was to pedal north, along the east coast, toward Mangawhai. We studied the map last evening and found a gravel road that looked a lot more interesting than the main road. It turned out to be a very scenic route with not much traffic, and more importantly, not many hills.
Yesterday we met a nice roadie (road cyclist) who stopped to chat. He asked us where we were from and suggested some areas to visit during our stay in New Zealand. He also asked us where we planned to go (today). I told him and then asked if it was hilly. He replied “Oh, I’m afraid all of New Zealand is quite hilly…”. And it is for a good reason. This small island country (about the size of Colorado) is relatively young in geologic time and lies on the border of two major tectonic plates; the Pacfic and the Indian/Australian plates. This had led to the “hilly” topography of the country. The landscape of the North Island has sculpted by volcanoes while the South Island has been subject to some serious uplift from the colliding of the two plates. In fact, the Southern Alps could grow to ten times their present size in the next few million years.
Recently, we’ve been following a couple of stories related to rapidly changing landscapes. The North Island saw an eruption from the volcano Mt Ruapehu. The event caused a massive lahar (mud flow) that trapped a climber in a hut. On the South Island, a lake was formed from a landslide near Mt Aspiring. In just a matter of a week, the lake grew to 2 km long and hundreds of meters deep. Geology is cool.
Tomorrow we had back toward the west coast and the land of Kauri trees and kumara (sweet potatoes).

1 comment:

rkehmeier said...

Hey Guys Glad to see you are coming over to the dark side - finally realizing how "REALLY COOl" geology is. We were in Yellowstone yesterday and saw a wolf -- what a thrill. CJ, "D in a B" was a hit with the TT cast. Keep having fun!
Love Dad and A