This summer just doesn’t seem to want to end, not that I complaining. Here is the view from Maraetai on the Eastern edge of Auckland, looking out towards Waiheki island.
The weather has been a little cooler this week, but the evenings are still fine for jogging. This week I decided to visit another of Auckland’s volcanic cones – Mt Saint John.
This panorama was taking looking East(ish) over Epsom and Remuera. The hill on the left is Mt Hobson. Towards the right is Cornwall Park topped with the monument on One Tree Hill. Off in the distance about a third of away across the image you can see Mt Wellington (about 6km away)
This is Mt Eden, as seen from much the same spot. In the foreground you can see the size of the crater. Mt Saint John is not one of the premier volcanoes around the city but its eruption is responsible for the lava field that eventually forms Meola reef several kilometres away so it must have been a big deal back in the day. I rate it a solid 7 out of 10 Wilberforces on the Volcanic Cone Appreciation Scale.
The weather in Auckland has been glorious this summer. If anything it has been too good with very little rain at all, and the hills are very brown. I am looking forward to a long, golden autumn.
This evening was perfect for jogging – not too hot, a very slight breeze, and a bright sun that seemed to hang above the hills casting burnished shadows across the city. I managed to make it to the top of the big Mt Wellington and take this photo before the sun dropped below the horizon. This is looking vaguely Nor-Northeast, the city centre is on the left edge (you can just see the Sky Tower), Rangitoto is centre-left. Point England and Half Moon Bay are on the right. On the extreme right side you can see the picturesque Panmure basin and the less picturesque Mt Wellington roundabout. The foreground is the Mt Wellington crater, which is pretty impressive but hard to take pictures of.
It’s almost Christmas (where does the time go?) and that means it is time for the ultra-creepy Farmers Santa to be exhumed and put on display. This year they have given him a lick of pant but the biggest improvement has been disabling the animatronic beckoning and winking motions that made Santa look like he was having a stroke (if you were charitable), or like a child molester (if you weren’t). Next year they should get the mechanism working again and put him up for Halloween instead.
I have just returned from a rare trip overseas, my first to the USA. Among the things I did while there was a three day visit to Yosemite National Park, one of the most astounding places I have ever seen. Being autumn, the famous wild-flowers were long gone and the waterfalls were turn down low, but that didn’t matter because the landscape itself is so eye-popping.
These pictures are of the famous half-dome, taken across the valley from an area called North Dome – about a 4 mile tramp from the nearest road. The photos really don’t do it justice, the valley is like a Minecraft chunk error in real life, and the bare granite mountains go on for as far as the eye can see.
One of the cool things about walking in California is the wildlife. Coming from New Zealand, we are not used to seeing mammals walking around in the bush. I didn’t see any bears or mountain lions (which I am quite grateful for, really) but squirrels, chipmunks and deer were all on view.