Cromwell and Clyde: Days 12 & 13

I have been using my phone to connect my laptop to the Internet. What with all the blogposts, and putting photos on Facebook and whatnot I used up my monthly data allocation and haven't been connected for a couple of days. Today Benjamin arrived in Clyde with a gadget which allows me, and 9 other people at the same time, apparently, to go online. So here I am again.

After the lengthy trip to Smoothwater, the 17km stroll into Cromwell should have been a doddle, and so it would have been if we didn't strike the first foul weather of the Hikoi. We looked at Bonnie and Susie's orchards, olives, nut groves and garden, made our farewells and threw a left at the end of their road. Less than 1 km along SHW6 we met Grant Davis on his way to work at Red Tractor vineyard, which is owned by his son and which we just happened to be passing. He showed us the pinot noir grapes, let us taste a few and showed us how he checks them for ripeness. He gave us a bottle of the finished product and assured us that the heavy cloud looming before us wouldn't bring rain to this part of the valley. Grant is right about the local weather 99% of the time but this was one of the 1% when he was the teensiest bit mistaken. Another half hour and we were walking into a gimlet like southerly and getting considerably damp.

Damon Plimmer joined us an hour out of town and we walked around Lake Dunstan and into St. Andrew's church hall about 1:00 pm where we shared tomato soup and sandwiches with some of the locals. After settling into our billets we spent the afternoon walking around the gold tailings at Bannockburn: an extraordinary place which in all my many visits to Cromwell I had never seen before. The faintest remains of a once thriving town sit above a landscape permanently maimed by sluicing. An ingenious system of dams, water races and sluices funneled unimaginable quantities of water onto the hillsides, reducing them to tortured gullies and pinnacles in the search for gold.

In the evening we joined the people of St. Andrews for a meal and then I spoke of the Hikoi and John prayed. It was a blessed and graced event.

Today we obeyed the Road Transport Authority and biked to Clyde, the Gorge Road connecting Cromwell to Clyde being deemed too dangerous for walking. Goodness knows why they thought that. The wide, gently curving road has a broad shoulder running its entire length and we would not have needed to set foot on the actual road surface for all but about 100 metres of it. We covered the 21 km in about an hour and a half and cycled past the dam and down into the quaint little goldrush town in time for lunch. We sat and chatted with Ross Falconer, the vicar for a while before Ross took most of the crew off to pan for gold. Despite the temptation to go and get rid of my mortgage, I stayed behind to catch up with some paperwork.

Late in the afternoon Benjamin arrived from Dunedin with the gadget, and with details of the eucharist to be held on the Taieri Gorge Railway this Sunday. It is going to be a very different service of worship, but I have a sense that it is going to be quite spectacular. About 110 people have so far indicated that they will be there and the number will grow by the weekend. We also talked about the St. Hilda's Hikoi through the streets of Dunedin next Tuesday which, again, will be a very enriching and engaging event.

When Benjamin left for Dunedin Phil Clark left with him. He has been such an integral part of the whole journey it will be a bit odd setting off on the Otago Central Rail Trail tomorrow without him. He will return in time for the walk North from Dunedin to Waitati on Friday week.

This evening we dined again with the local parish, worshipped in the church and I spoke with the people. Again it was a blessed event. I walked back to my billet with a couple of the people who will be on the rail trail with me tomorrow. They are members of St. Matthews parish whom I had not met before today but whom I will get to know very well indeed over the next few days.


Merv said…
So, would it be too edgy to pray for a mobile data allocation that doesn't run out?[1 Kings 17:16]

"..a blessed and graced event". Wonderful.