Boxing Day at Lake Waikare

On Boxing Day I went with my Dad and brother to visit my sister, brother-in-law and family on their recently acquired piece of land on the edge of Lake Waikare. They have moved an old house onto the land, and have done a miraculous job of transforming the house. The whereabouts of this beautiful piece of New Zealand is a mystery to most people I talk to. Near Te Kauwhata near Huntly doesn’t help much, but if you look at a map of New Zealand you’ll see the lake quite clearly up there just underneath Auckland. It’s pretty big! It’s very shallow, no good for swimming, and apparently is full of koi carp. Not your typical blue lake – in fact it is a constant shade of murky brown. The lake is hypertrophic which means it is “highly fertile and supersaturated in phosphorus and nitrogen [with] excessive phytoplankton growth which contributes to poor water clarity, poor suitability for recreational uses, and restricts the habitat for desirable fish.” (Environment Waikato
A shocking inditement on human activity (farming, land clearance, wastewater discharge) in the area not helped by the fact that the lake levels were lowered by 1 metre in the 1960s as part of a flood control scheme.
Anyway back to Boxing Day…
We arrived mid morning and after exchanging boxing day gifts we sat down to a beautiful repast of christmas leftovers – ham, lamb, salads followed by pavlova and plum pudding.
My sister and I had planned to go for a cycle around “the block” but it was such a windy day we decided to just go to the end of the road and back. We set off at 3 pm into the blustery wind and by the time we reached the end of the road (about 5km) I was completely done in. But the “round the block” idea hadn’t completely disappeared from the sisterly conversation and we both decided that we’d carry on and knock the bugger off. Me with quite a bit of trepidation. Luckily the next bit of the block was assisted by a tail wind and was quite fun. But the other 90% of it was sheer hell as I battled the wind, trying to keep up with my super fit sister….and worrying about dying from dehydration as I’d drank the contents of my water bottle in the first 5ks…until we happened upon a beautiful little church in the middle of nowhere where God had very thoughtfully provided an outside tap, just for such an occasion we decided. So our thirst satiated we carried on….and THREE hours later we returned home from our jaunt “around the block.” My thighs were burning and I wondered if I might need hospital treatment as I sat comatose on the floor while my sister regaled everyone about the “doddle” around the block, how she hadn’t even broken into a sweat, and reckoned next time she could do it in 2 hours, then energetically proceeded to make tea..
Have decided I need to get out on the bike more…so yesterday morning I biked the 10ks to work and home again in the afternoon. Takes me 40 mins there and 60 mins home because of the hills. So I’ll be ready for the “round the block” cycle next time. No such thing as sisterly competition in my family…


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