Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Imperfect Storms

News of the great storm in France has reached us even here in New Zealand, which is poised between relief at the minimal effects of the tsunami (and amazement at the stupidity of people who actually went onto the beaches to watch it) and speculation as to when the next NZ “Big One” earthquake will hit.

This is, to my knowledge, the fourth huge storm to hit France in the past ten years. One was only last year. The other two were on consecutive days only hours before the “millennium” – which even before that had many people speculating about associated disaster.

The two hurricanes felled, if I recall correctly, 29 Million trees. Many of these fell in areas crossed by the Grandes RandonnĂ©es, the great walking tracks of France. In Oliver Andrew’s book of his long walk (some of which covered the same ground as the upcoming Vic’s Big Walk) he had a great deal of trouble as a result. He was constantly climbing over fallen trees or even finding his way completely blocked by them.

So of course I am today visualising all those trees as they fall across my chosen path.

Strangely enough, our own very strenuous walk to the waterfall here in Hanmer Springs, this morning, was affected by fallen trees. The alternative return track was blocked off forestry notices so we had to walk (climb, in some places) back to Hanmer. The total walk was only 16 kms, but the change in altitude was from about 350 to 840 metres. Hard work.

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