Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak
"Spacious Skies"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Fallin Fisherman at Sunset

RT Fallin loves to fish until the setting sun.  He probably fished all day and never gave up until he caught his supper.  His grandpa Louis Brown would have been very proud!

Poet Abbie Farwell Brown was an American author who lived from 1871-1927.  One of her famous children poems was The Fisherman.

The Fisherman

The fisherman goes out at dawn 
When every one's abed, 
And from the bottom of the sea 
Draws up his daily bread. 

His life is strange ; half on the shore 
And half upon the sea — 
Not quite a fish, and yet not quite 
The same as you and me. 

The fisherman has curious eyes ; 
They make you feel so queer, 
As if they had seen many things
Of wonder and of fear. 

They're like the sea on foggy days, — 
Not gray, nor yet quite blue ; 
They 're like the wondrous tales he tells 
Not quite — yet maybe — true. 

He knows so much of boats and tides, 
Of winds and clouds and sky ! 
But when I tell of city things, 
He sniffs and shuts one eye !

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bilbo Baggins Missing Birdhouse

When we toured The Hobbiton movie location, I noticed several birdhouses made with various materials that made them unique. These are pictures I took of the birdhouses located throughout The Shire.  I wanted to show some different images that most people would not find On Line and show the thoroughness of detail that went into constructing and building The Shire.  Probably, only die-hard fans of the LOTR and TH will find this interesting but the scenery was gorgeous and I was in awe of the entire countryside.
 I liked this blue birdhouse located in a flower bed.  Bag End is located at the top of the hill.

  This birdhouse is located in the garden with a straw roof.

After we toured The Hobbiton movie location,  I reviewed the film scenes of The Shire and noticed that at Bag End, Bilbo Baggins had a very rustic birdhouse in front of the window.  I took a lot of pictures of Bag End and the birdhouse is no longer there.  Instead, on the left side of Bag End is a smaller round birdhouse that was not in the movie.

The Hobbit screen cap with Rustic Birdhouse behind Bilbo (my edit).
Front view of Bag End at the Hobbiton Movie Location on Alexander Farm outside of Matamata.  A birdhouse is located on the left side which has a different design.  This is a movie trivial point but why did they remove the birdhouse?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mt. Maunganui Rabbits - Radagast the Brown would be Proud

In The Hobbit, Radagast the Brown rides on a sleigh pulled by giant “Rhosgobel Rabbits” — creatures that were very much not in J.R.R. Tolkein’s beloved book.  On Mt. Maunganui, I saw these large rabbits feeding on the side of the mount.  They are not as large as Rhosgobel rabbits but they could probably pull a small sleigh made of sticks if they had too! 

Screencap from The Hobbit

It was a lovely surprise to encounter them with so many people walking the trail.  They basically ignored us and were not afraid.  On the harbour side of the mount you could see Tauranga Port in the distance.  Mt. Maunganui is surrounded by so many different activities from the busy port, recreational sailing, campers, the beach, and of course the "Rabbits".

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mauao 'Caught by the morning Sun'

Nancy and I visited Mt. Maunganui and I only walked a short distance on the track due to blisters.  I read the Maori mythology about the mount and thought it was as beautiful and as mythical as any Greek mythology I studied in college.
The Maori Mythology of Mount Maunganui (Mauao).
"There was once a hill with no name amongst the many hills on the edge of the forest of Hautere.
The nameless one was a pononga (slave) to the majestic mountain called Otanewainuku.
Nearby was the shapely form of the hill Puwhenua, a woman clothed in all the fine greens of the ferns, shrubs and trees of the God of the Forest Tane Mahuta. The nameless one was desperately in love with Puwhenua but her heart was already betrothed to the majestic form of the chiefly mountain Otanewainuku. There seemed to be no hope for the lowly slave with no name to persuade her to become his bride. In despair he decided to drown himself in Te Moananui-a-Kiwa ( Pacific Ocean). So he called upon his friends the Patupaiarehe (fairy people) who dwelt in the dark recesses of the forest. The Patupaiarehe were people of the night and possessed magical powers and they plaited ropes with their magic and began hauling him from the hill country towards the ocean. As they heaved and pulled they gouged out a valley and with his tears formed the Waimapu (weeping water) river. They followed the channel past Hairini, past Maungatapu and Matapihi and past Te Papa. They pulled him to the edge of the great ocean. He had one last look back at where he came from before plunging himself into the water to drown.  But he hesitated too long; it was already close to daybreak. The sun rose fixing the nameless one to that place. Being people of the night the Patupaiarehe fled back to the shady depths of the Hautere forest, before the light of the sun descended upon them. The Patupaiarehe gave the name Mauao ‘caught by the morning sun’. Today he is known by most as Mt Maunganui."   Source:  www.eske-style.co.nz

Native Trees at Tauranga Harbour, New Zealand

The park at Tauranga Harbour was outline with trees which provided shade and they cast-off a golden hue from the setting sun. Tauranga Harbour is a natural harbour located next to Mt.Maunganui and is the country's largest port.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sunset at Tauranga Harbour, New Zealand

We were fortunate enough to be at Tauranga Harbour when the sun was setting.  Boats were settling in for the night, people had setup their canoes and returned home for the evening.  It was cool, breezy and with a serene peaceful night coming in. I am studying landscape oil painting and I definitely will try my hand at painting this beautiful Harbour at sunset.  Afterwards, I experience driving at night on the "wrong side of the road!"  Missed my turn and ended up going to never never land with road construction, blocked exists, detours, and the GPS was completely lost.  It was "An Adventure" better than anything Bilbo Baggins had with the Company of Thorin Oakenshield and his dwarves in The Hobbit.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mount Beach at Tauranga, New Zealand

Tauranga is a popular place in New Zealand for families on holiday. It is New Zealand's premier surfing city. Mount Beach was crowded with students, families, and tourist on their summer vacation.  The beach and sky were gorgeous shades of blue.  What I liked about staying in Tauranga was the motel had no air condition and windows were opened to allow in fresh air.  The temperature was in the low 70's and it was wonderful to have fresh air circulating in the rooms. I have not been able to do that in the U.S. since I was a teen living at  home with my parents.  Due to security risks and crime, we have to keep our doors and windows locked.

Black Sands of Te Henga (Bethells Beach) New Zealand

Bethells Beach is a black sand beach in the Waitakere Range.  It is located at the mouth of the Waitakere River where it flows into the Tasman Sea.  From Auckland, it was a lovely drive with a long winding road through the country side to get to the beach.  The beach has been used as a filming location for the U.S. TV series Xena:  Warrior Princess and for the Disney movie "Avalon High".  The black sand glitters in the sun and the wind was so strong it was a struggle to walk on the beach.  Sand was whirling and hitting my face so hard I had to cover my eyes with my hands and try to hold on to my hat. I felt like I was in a sandstorm similar to the dust bowl in the US mid west.  It is a strong rugged coast with large dunes and was interesting to see but not my favorite kind of beach.  Living in Florida, I prefer white sandy beaches with plenty of seagulls and birds. The surfer club had members there but the beach was mostly deserted.  On this particular day, the sand was too hot and winds too strong to enjoy.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Auckland City Walk, Cascade Kauri Regional Park, New Zealand

The Auckland City Walk is a 50 minute drive from central Auckland.  It is located at the end of Falls Road and adjacent to the Waitakere Golf Club.  The native trees on the walk include Totara, Kauri and Kahikitea.  There were several stream crossings and some nice waterfalls and the area is surrounded by bush-clad hills.  The Kauri Tree is New Zealand's largest and most famous native tree and one of the world's mightiest trees. The immense size of some of the trees were left over from the European settlers in the nineteenth century who devastated much of the area with  timber cutting.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Waitakere Range Park, Arataki Visitor Center New Zealand

Waitakere Range Park covers more than 16,000 hectares of native rain forest and coastline.  All the pictures above were taken from the multi level Arataki Visitor Center. Local iwi Te Kawerau a - Maki's ancestral association goes back to this area 700-800 years. We made the right decision to visit Waitakere and stay clear of the typical tourist attractions in Auckland. There were very few visitors and it is off the radar as a tourist attraction.  Other than a few profession hikers, we were the only visitors that afternoon.

Manukau Harbour at Waitakere Range Park, New Zealand

One of the things we tried to do in New Zealand was to visit places that most tourist would not see.  West of Auckland is the Waitakere Range and we visited the Arataki Visitor Center and hiked some of the Beveridge Track.  From a distance you can see Manukau Harbour south of Auckland. It was a cloudy day and we did get some light rain but the rainforest was gorgeous.

Mt. Eden (Maungawhau) Auckland, New Zealand

I visited New Zealand's North Island in the month of February.  In Auckland, my friend Nancy and I stayed at the Eden Villa Bed and Breakfast which was located in the Mt.Eden district.  Mt. Eden is the highest volcanic cone in Auckland and from the top you can see the entire isthmus and both harbours of Auckland.  The Waitemata Harbour is to the east and the Manukau Harbour is to the west.  The crater is 50m deep and is known as Te Ipu Kai a Mataaho (the Food Bowl of Mataaho, the god of things hidden in the ground.)  It was very windy on top of Mt. Eden which made it very difficult to hike.  Sand was blowing into our face, hair and eyes so hiking was out of the question.