Sunday after church, we decided to take a hike before going home. We drove south from Kaikoura, along the coast, on our normal route home, but stopped where the highway goes away from the coast into the hills, at Oaro. After parking the van beside the beach, we took off walking. Someone had told us about a cliff where there are a lot of fossils, and the boys wanted to find some. We walked along a trail through lupines in full bloom, first, then crossed the Oaro River. We never got our feet wet! The river goes through gravel, under a bank several feet high. Then, we walked along the access road between the railroad and the beach.
The most surprising discovery we made appeared to be a train wreck, from 75-100 years ago. There was a string of railway carriages pushed over the bank to just above the high-tide line of the beach, and even a steam engine! We found out a couple of days later that old railway cars used to be pushed over the edge to help stabilize the bank. The next excitement came when we got to a section of beach where there is a retaining wall for a good ways, and the water comes right up to the base of it. Most of us walked along the roadway on top, but two adventuresome boys decided to walk along the ledge at the bottom of the retaining wall. Well and good–except it went a lot farther than we ever imagined, and got narrower and narrower! They had to keep moving to different levels to keep going. There was no way to get them up over the top–they had to go on or go back! They made it eventually–but I think this mom probably has a few more gray hairs!
The next section was lovely sand that reminded me of Lake Michigan beaches, except that it was dark instead of bright yellow. So warm to the feet! After that section, the shore turned rocky again, so we walked on the road again, between tall stands of fennel.
We knew the passenger train should be coming through soon, so we were watching out for it.
The children stood on a small hill to wave at the passengers, and when it had passed we started back for the van. By now, the sun had gone behind the hills and it was getting cold. The children all armed themselves (against ??) with dried-out fennel stalks and we marched. Daddy got to the van first, with baby, and I straggled in last with the 3-year-old. We all agreed it had been a wonderful experience, even though we never did figure out which cliff had the fossils.