Monday, 23 October 2017

Whiteman’s Valley

On Tuesday 3 October, it was a lovely day, so we decided to take the train to Upper Hutt, and ride down Whiteman’s Valley. We missed the 10:45 train by a couple of minutes, so since we had at least 25 minutes in hand before the next train, we went to explore for a bit. We used the footbridge to cross over SH2, and ended up at the bottom of Korokoro Road.

A track led of towards the north, and about a kilometre on, we arrived at a very pleasant park. After a bit, I figured that this must be Percy’s Reserve, which was confirmed by a passing gentleman walking his dog. It was decades since we had been here with our children. I seem to remember there was a pond here, and my main memory of the place was “too much duck poo!”. But we didn’t see any evidence of that this time. It did seem like a nice place to explore further, but we had to get back to catch our train. It will keep for another day.

On the boardwalk at Percy’s Reserve (photo by Jo

We duly made our way to Upper Hutt, from where we headed up Wallaceville Road and into Whiteman’s Valley. Soon after the turn-off into Whiteman’s Valley Road there is a pretty little church in a lovely setting – Wallaceville Church. From the notice by the gate, it looks like regular services are no longer held, but it is available for weddings and other special occasions.

Wallaceville Church (photo by John)

Only a few gates further down the road we found this quirky arrangement of creatures by the letterbox. Of course that warranted a photo stop.

A colourful menagerie guards the gate of a Whiteman’s Valley property (photo by John)

The road is nice and flat, and very quiet. Only a few cars passed us. Very different from the impression given on social media of angry residents complaining about cyclists riding in bunches and obstructing traffic. What traffic? However, I believe the road is very popular with road cycling training squads on weekends. But this was a weekday.

For the first time this spring, it was warm enough to ride in short sleeves (photo by John)

We have biked in this valley with the Folding Goldies a couple of times, but in a way, I prefer riding with just the two of us. The solitude of rural quiet allows me to observe and hear what is around me – cattle in their paddocks following us with their stares, the towering sound of a skylark somewhere high above us, the high pitched bleats of lambs, and the deep-throated ba-a-a’s of their mums, the blossoming trees alongside the road, a paddock full of alpacas, the rumble of a ride-on mower and the smell of freshly-mown grass. And the pungent fragrance of onion weed which always reminds me of times when spring and the first of the warm weather meant having to swot for university exams – way back when …

Cattle could be crossing here

Flowering cherry trees by the road side (photo by John)

Lambs and their mums

The alpacas were not interested in checking us out

Old sheds are always very photo-worthy (photo by John)

After a lovely flat ride, we turned into Blue Mountains Road for the descent back down to Silverstream. We stopped at a corner to take a photo of the valley below. I wondered what the large complex of buildings below us was. It turns out it was Rimutaka Prison.

Upper Hutt, with Rimutaka Prison in the foreground (photo by John)

We stopped at the Silverstream Bakery for lunch, then biked down the road for a short distance, before crossing Fergusson Drive to get to the Hutt River Trail.

The willows alongside the Hutt River are all greened up (photo by John)

The Hutt River near Stokes Valley (photo by John)

By the time we got back to Petone, where we had parked the car before taking the train, we had biked 48 km. It had been a most enjoyable day.

A last photo on the Petone foreshore (photo by John)

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