Barbara Henley rndm
4 May 2012
March was a good time for our annual Eco walk. It was fresh and the early morning mist over Lake Waikaremoana added a touch of mystical wonder to this hidden treasure of Te Urewera National Park.
Lake Waikaremoana was the destination for the seven of us RNDMs this year and our thoughts were with the Tuhoe people and the wonderful treasure they have inherited and so fiercely protect.
It is glorious in its seclusion – a long winding trip via Murupara and a shorter winding trip from Wairoa. Despite that, it was a hive of activity with groups from near and far heading out for The Great Walk and others towing in their boats for some quiet fishing. We enjoyed being together, walking deep into the Ureweras, admiring the beauty of the rainforest, mesmerised by the power of the waterfalls, listening to the birdlife and enjoying the flight of the kereru.
It was often hard going up steep tracks, over fallen logs and hidden tree roots to the top of the ridge. But it was Lent and a little discomfort, sweat and pain seemed appropriate.
The motor camp was our base for daily ventures from early morning watching the mist rise over the majestic lake to end in prayerful admiration as the sun set.
Treks included the Black Beech Walk with its stunning views of the lake and waterfalls, the testing walk up to Lou’s Lookout, the Panekiri Bluff climb.
We saw swampy ponds set in fern-clad, moss-covered bush and forests of rata, totara and matai with ferns of every species growing steadfastly in the undergrowth.
How blessed are we amid such beauty. What awesome responsibility we felt to care for this gift entrusted to us.
Image: Sisters of the Mission Barbara Henley, Elizabeth Beeler, Mary Wyss, Carmel Cole, Susan Smith, Mary Maitland and Marie Finn on their annual eco-walk in the Urewera National Park.