The highlight of our walk, for most of us, was the Moria Gate Arch. I would not have recognized the reference, but some in the family who have listened to The Lord of the Rings recognized it, and when we reached the end of the track we saw a sign that confirmed that it was named for that feature of the story.
First, we reached an overlook just off the main track, which looked down the river towards the arch. That was pretty amazing! After admiring it, we kept on walking, and the track took us over the arch! It was rather unnerving, though, because if it hadn’t been for the paving stones embedded in the path, each with a moa track molded into it, I wouldn’t have known we were over the river. The trees were just as dense on each side of us as they had been all the way so far, although if I really looked I could sometimes catch a glimpse of the water off to the side.
Then, we were surprised, when we reached the far side of the arch, to find a hole going down into the ground. We went down it…
And found this!
Parts of the area under the arch were like a cavern, and the boys, of course, had to explore everything.
Elijah took this video for me, so I could show you a 360º view.
After enjoying this beautiful place for awhile, we climbed back out to the bush above and rejoined Mom, who had chosen not to attempt these steps. (Wise move!)
We found the most amazing mushrooms here and there!
This one was bigger than an adult’s hand!
There is an incredible diversity of life on a fallen log!
I love spots like this. An enchanted forest, maybe? (See the face peeking around a tree trunk?)