Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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44 people showed up to explore the unique Otuataua Stonefields in Mangere, through which the Te Araroa Trail runs. Christine told us about the history of these stone fields before we set off on the first of two walks given in the Otuataua Stonefields commemorative brochure, the Historical Walk. This took us to various historical sites including a pa site, gardens, storage pits, and the site of baches used by Auckland families in the 1920s and 1930s. There were old boundary fences to be seen everywhere, made of basalt stones locked together like a jigsaw puzzle without any form of cement. We had spectacular views out to the Manukau Harbour and Puketutu Island. We saw some maawhai (native cucumber) vines. A sign said that this was the only recorded existence of this plant on the NZ mainland, but it is also believed to occur on the east coast of Coromandel Peninsula.
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At 3:10pm we set out on the Geological Walk, going to the small extinct volcanic cone of Puketaapapa. We had our afternoon tea break on the north side of the cone. For our devotions Christine chose the theme of rocks, as they are predominant in the reserve. In the Old Testament when the Israelites crossed the Jordan River they carried rocks across to build an altar as a way of thanking God for bringing them safely on their journey, and for future generations to see and remember this. There are enough rocks around for us to make altars to God which we can look back in our own lives and see where He has met us in various ways - answers to prayer, healing, being victorious in time of difficulty. We can look back to these altars in our lives in our future challenges. God is good, He is my Rock, He is my Deliverer, in God can I trust.
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To finish our walk we visited an old avocado orchard. Visitors were welcome to pick a limited number of avocadoes during the fruiting season in late spring, but it was interesting to see all the trees. We finished at 4pm, and most of us headed off either home or to a café, although one or two did the remaining walk ending up with wet feet and long sloshy grass.
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COST:  travel from The Bracken $3