Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Clutha River meanderings, this time with a flavour of gold mining history

After an unsettled but mild beginning to spring, this weekend, both mornings when waking we found it snowing outside. Conducive then to being indoors, Dougal and I decided on some exercise this Sunday afternoon when there was some sun, so headed off again to explore the Clutha River, determined to make a competent job of landscape photography to publish here to draw attention to ill conceived ideas quietly being published by the spin doctors telling us we need more dams on this world heritage class river!

In the vicinity of Reko's Point again...
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Drift fishing by raft - this was maybe my friend Lewis who runs an Eco Rafting operation on the river, but the wind did not enable him to hear my greeting from atop a rather large cliff...
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Thumbing our noses at tracks, up the bank we travelled noting the recently established Didymo is slippery stuff to walk on when it's exposed...
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This forced us into some scrub bashing, which in turn forced us to travel under this very interesting cliff, until we could turn the upstream end and gain a broad terrace to pick up the track home...
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On turning the upstream end of the band of unusual sedimentary layering, we're still very puzzled as to the purpose of this small and strongly constructed wall right on the very end of it. Behind Dougal there were many gold working tailings, and surprisingly they'd piled the rocks right on the very edge of the aforementioned cliff - little did we realise while traveling below that this had been done, and I still can't understand why they did not just toss them off, and if they had we'd have noticed the extra complexity they would have added to our scrambling...
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On higher ground again we found the travel easier as the soil and pene-plain rocks don't encourage vegetation...
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On these wandering, as opposed to having kayaked this river many years ago, I'm starting to realise that to understand it's place in the environment we have to walk and explore the banks and look at it in the bigger picture of the landscape. In this instance in relation to the end view of the Pisa Range...
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... and also in the context of the huge areas neighbouring the river where native vegetation and bird life, native and otherwise, flourishes. I was relived we were on our short little ridge/terrace which allowed us to have a semi "high" route through this rich and densely growing Kanuka, and Matagouri etc...
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This week's link to a newsworthy blog puts the very essence of life in perspective: Bob Mc Kerrow's DEATH, DESTRUCTION AND HOPE IN SUMATRA EARTHQUAKE.

Keep up the good work Bob, take care and know our thoughts and prayers are with you and those caught up in this tragedy.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
The colour of that wonderful river always grabs me. I reckon this fight is even more important with Brownlee now wanting to attack the national parks and forests. "Just putting it on the table" he says - very dangerous stuff. I wonder when the last time he took a walk along a river was? Great to see you and Dougal enjoying the day. I must write though, I am always glad to see the end of the school holidays! Have a great week Donald.
Cheers,
Robb

October 7, 2009 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

Yes, Robb this New Zealand Government's attitude of "we need to know what we have" is potentially the thin end of a wedge. I'm also very intrigued as to how they see this information being gathered without transgressing our legacy for future generations. Research by bull dozer and drilling rigs has been done in the past. Now days that thin wedge starts even sooner in the process before the heavy metal arrives on site saying, "ah, we know x is here, but we need to know how much?" And lastly on this theme historically Govts. don't do this alone so who is snuggling up to ears in Govt., or vice versa! Some openness and light is needed on this topic, where truth will be the first victim of a good story.

D. and I did another big walk yesterday: the road to Dingleburn Stn has been turned into a walkway. It is chiselled and blasted out of rocks on the nth shore of Hawea and is very spectacular. I've driven this private road a few times to get to the Station, but walking it is more fun and very scenic. I'll blog the pictures in due course.

We had a good talk about his friends and I've found to my delight that's he's keeping close to the good solid ones of the type that want to sit on Board of Trustees as the student rep. etc. Other topics I bring up can be hard going though, as it's like he's not ready, and the effort reminds me that it was the same for myself away back!

Cheers

Donald

October 7, 2009 at 11:27 AM  

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