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Entrance to Grove Scenic Reserve

Entrance to Grove Scenic Reserve

Michelle, the co-owner of Bay Country Lodge, located in Golden Bay, has provided me with a wealth of information about the Abel Tasman National Park area. Yesterday, she suggested two hikes to me: the Grove Scenic Reserve and the Milnthorpe Park Scenic Reserve. Grove is a very short walk of approximately 30 minutes, so I decided to wake up early this morning, where I could do that hike first and then do Milnthorpe, which is located approximately 25 kilometers away. Milnthorpe, with its numerous “walking tracks,” takes approximately 3-4 hours to complete. These are some of the pictures and comments I noted while hiking in these beautiful parks. All of the pictures will enlarge with no loss in resolution if you click on them.

Rata tree, a slower growing parisitic tree that attaches itself to other trees and rocks. Roots grow downward

Rata tree, a slower growing parisitic tree that usually has a host tree to grow and thrive.

Limestone formations were amazing. Notice how this one twists and turns.

Limestone formations were amazing. Notice how this one twists and turns.

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This limestone is even more pronounced (with turns). The stone is quite smooth, mostly due to water and wind.

Sheer walls of limestone, with the sun peeking through.

Sheer walls of limestone, with the sun peeking through.

Lookout of Golden Bay from Grove Park hike.

Golden Bay from Grove Park lookout.

The space I was walking through was approx. 3 feet in width.

The space between these limestone walls was approx. 3 feet in width.

Sheep - which easily outnumber New Zealanders - graze on grass below the lookout.

Sheep – which easily outnumber New Zealanders in total population – graze on grass below the lookout.

I was experimenting with my "point and shoot" Canon.

I was experimenting with my “point and shoot” Canon.

Another narrow pathway at Grove.

Another narrow pathway at Grove.

Wind and water made this hole in the limestone.

Wind and water made this hole in the limestone.

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Two massive blocks of limestone stand sentry as I approach the end of the Grove hike.

The only person up this early in the morning besides me, was a NZ photographer that wanted to catch the light. He was nice enough to take this picture.

The only person up this early in the morning besides me, was a NZ photographer that wanted to catch the light. He was nice enough to take this picture.

My next hike was Milnthorpe Scenic Reserve Park. The directions that Michelle provided me were excellent and I enjoyed the solitude of driving the country roads.  I suspect most people were still beginning their morning with coffee and breakfast. Milnthorpe is a unique park, not only for New Zealand, but for any place in the world. This is one of the only human assisted rainforests – which was begun as an experiment in 1974 “. . . under the auspices of the Department of Lands and Survey as the Milnthorpe Revegetation Project.” The aim was to establish a stricktly indigenous forest over the dis-used 400 plus acre coastal site. Planting efforts frequently perished and by 1976 the true nature of the impoverished soils became apparent. Idealism gave way to pragmatism in a trial planting of exotic trees, of which Australia species (eucalyptus and acacia) proved best adapted to the poor conditions. These trees quickly grew to enrich topsoil layers and provide the crucial canopy of shade that has enabled the successful planting of tens of thousands of native species.

This Milnthorpe walking track is called "Trev's Trek." and is where I began my hike.

This Milnthorpe walking track is called “Trev’s Trek.” and is where I began my hike.

Still on Trev's Trek, walking along the Parapara Inlet from Golden Bay.

Still on Trev’s Trek, walking along the Parapara Inlet from Golden Bay.

Bob's bit track, which ends at Havendens's hole (pond).

Bob’s Bit track, which ends at Havendens’s Hole (pond).

Another view of this pond.

Another view of this pond.

Some sort of spore. Almost seems like many of the species are from a different planet. :-)

Some sort of spore. Almost seems like many of the species are from a different planet. 🙂

Another unusual tree, with numerous "trunk" branches, which sprout to palms at the top.

Another unusual tree, with numerous “trunk” branches, which sprout to palms at the top.

This tree was interesting because it was losing all of its bark, yet didn't seem to be adversely affected by whatever animal (bird?) was eating it. Not certain, but I think this is a Rimu tree.

This tree was interesting because it was losing all of its bark, yet didn’t seem to be adversely affected by whatever animal (bird?) was eating it. Not certain, but I think this is a Rimu tree.

Rata tree branches line the Pakihi Path track of Milnthorpe.

Rata tree branches line the Pakihi Path track of Milnthorpe.

Tree with branches for a trunk. Weird.

Tree with branches for a trunk. Weird.

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Stone wall believed to have been built in 1880s.

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A runner that was taking a breather from his jog, took this picture of me.

This was called, "Ann and Tom's Pond."

This was called, “Tom ‘N Ann’s Creek.”

A mushroom that was about the size of a tennis ball. Again, a species I have never seen before.

A mushroom that was about the size of a tennis ball. Again, a species I have never seen before.

This track is called Jimmy's Jungle.

This track is called Jimmy’s Jungle.

Joe's Bush per the sign I passed earlier.

Joe’s Bush per the sign I passed earlier.

This was truly weird. I spied the sign, "Beehive Boulevard" a few minutes earlier. Umm, I had no idea I would come across real honey bees. Ha.

This was truly weird. I spied the sign, “Beehive Boulevard” a few minutes earlier. Umm, I had no idea I would come across real honey bees. Ha.

I really had a lot of fun hiking this park. I would say that 90% of the hike had protection from the sun. New Zealanders do not usually refer to it as “jungle” or “forest canopy,” but rather as “bush.” As I have said in earlier posts, the sun is quite intense in this part of the world. This is probably due to a weakened ozone layer. Whatever the reason, sun screen is mandatory around these parts. I also brought along a light, long sleeve cotton shirt, but due to the “bush,” I didn’t need it. The other thing that was interesting to me – which I didn’t know at the time – are the numerous tracks named after people. While hiking, I kept on wondering who these people were and what they did to have signs that read: Trev’s Trek, Joe’s Bush, Bob’s Bit, Mitch’s Lookout (Mitch rated two tracks actually – Mitch’s Loop), Jimmy’s Jungle, Ian’s Incline, Matthew’s Walk, Elise’s Way, and Frampton’s Fairway (Peter?). I even made up stories about each of them . . . Hey, when you’re hiking, you have plenty of time to day dream. I have since learned that these areas were established by donation and named in agreement with the donors. Who knew? 🙂

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