Tuesday, 19 May 2015

After the floods – Seaview to Stokes Valley

On Monday we went for another relatively easy ride up the Hutt River Trail, from Seaview to Stokes Valley and back. There was a strong nor’westerly wind, so we took the e-bikes, which helped with the headwind.

It was over a week since we were last able to go for a bike ride, as the weather has not been particularly inviting. In fact last Thursday, the Wellington region, including Kapiti and the Hutt Valley, was hit by a one-in-fifty-years deluge which caused a lot of flooding and mayhem around the area. It was reported that 143 mm of rain fell in a 24-hour period, nearly double the monthly average for May.

It was rather horrifying to see photos online of many places where we like to bike being swamped by rivers and streams breaking their banks, and roads being flooded because the stormwater drainage systems simply couldn’t cope.

It seems, however, that the flooding dissipated reasonably rapidly the next day, and we had no trouble biking the Hutt River trail.

We did see a few reminders of the deluge, such as a “re-arranged” riverbed and silt build-up in places.

The flooding has left behind a bank of built up silt (photo by John)

In several places, the riverbank was scoured out. Orange netting surrounded the areas to stop people straying near the edge. The scouring laid bare the roots of some of the willows. It was interesting to see how deep the willow poles, from which these trees have grown, are embedded in the soil. Interesting too, to see how high the bank is above the river, and yet the water rose to cover the whole bank.

The flooded river has scoured out the bank, leaving some willows high and dry, and carried others away

Mostly the track was clear, but some muddy patches remained (photo by John)

The Hutt Riverbank car park was flooded on that day too. The cycle track runs between the car park and the river, and on the river side, we could see how the grass had been flattened by the fast-running water. Debris and broken branches had been carried along and got caught behind trees. It was sad to see how much rubbish – especially plastic bags – had been left behind.

Grass flattened by the rush of water (photo by John)

The ride to Stokes Valley was quite uneventful. It was nice to have the e-bikes to ride into the brisk headwind. On the way back, we had lunch at Janus Bakkerij (yes, again!). During lunch John reminded me that my mileage on the e-bike would be just about up to a thousand kilometres.

So naturally, I kept a close eye on my odometer, and stopped the moment the dial turned from 999.9 to 1000.0 – just about half a kilometre before we got back to the car – because of course, I had to record this for the blog. 

One thousand kilometres on the e-bike odometer!

Taking my milestone photo (photo by John)

We rode a total of 28 km.

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