Reflections on Contrasts

What a difference a few days make!

A little over ten days ago, the primary weather concern in our area of the world was an unfolding drought. The landscape was parched, turning from that lovely golden summer brown to the grey-brown of dust. Trees were quickly becoming the only green things to see.

The Rangitikei River was very low, with the extended dry (all of January) and associated high temperatures, both air and water, leading to an explosion in the growth of macrophyton and periphyton (algal weed – slime) on rocks and associated breakaway pieces in the water column.

Of course, it was not all bad. The unaccustomed humidity was trying to be sure, but the river was still cold enough, even though in the low 20 degrees C, to cool off. I think I swam more often than I have for years.

The extended fine and warm weather was perfect for our multi-day trips, whether by horse or raft. Enjoying long summer evenings at a riverside camp is always a seasonal highlight.

Photos from some of our multi-day horse treks this Summer.

Photos from some of our multi-day river trips this Summer.

This has all changed, though most likely not for long. A couple of frontal systems have brought widespread rain, and today, a drop in both humidity and temperature. It always amazes me how quickly the earth responds to this welcome moisture. Paddocks and fields are once again turning green. As I write this, it now being the third day of showers or rain, you can almost see the change happening in front of your eyes.

Several days of high river flows have cleaned up much of the weed growth, sending it to the sea. In a couple of days, the water quality will again look its pristine best.

While we can often have scorching days in summer, this time around, the associated humidity caused by a stream of warm moist air coming from the tropics was something that we were definitely not used to.

E-biking on a hot evening before the rain arrived.

So how does it look for the rest of summer and autumn?

According to NIWa’s seasonal outlook for February to April, we can expect more of what we have been experiencing. Warmer temperatures than usual, maybe another rain event in March, with river flows being near normal for the time of year.

I am pleased to see that summer is not over according to this forecast!

If you are thinking of taking a break, it is not too late to book a multi-day trip, whether by raft, horse or e-bike, though our season for overnight river trips finishes at the end of March.

Of course, it is not just the weather that is on top of our minds. The Omicron variant outbreak appears to be gathering momentum. How does this affect any bookings you may have with River Valley?

Our policy on booking changes brought about through Covid is that we will either give a 100% refund, or you may instead postpone your booking to a different date or choose to keep your credit with us for a future booking. If you have booked through a third party, you may need to check their policies.

Contrasts for sure – hot and dry, wet and cool, a landscape that is green – brown – green, low water, high water, Red Setting, Orange Setting, Red Setting, and so on. We certainly live in interesting times.

Brian Megaw