Natures Beauty Essay, Research Paper
NATURES UNTOUCHED BEAUTY
Only a few of my friends share my passion for caving or as it is called in the professional world
?Spilunking? and it is hard to find a time when we are all together and willing to indulge. So one day last spring I decided to explore the newly opened Rimutaka caves just out side the city.
I left early Saturday morning while the dew was still forming on the green grass, taking the east highway out of Wellington past the artificial brilliance of the sky scrapers and their fast paced culture into nature. The sun was starting to rise I encountered the beginning of the mountains bathing them in an angel like radiance, which emphasized the peaks and dips of the ranges. In the distance you could just make out the sparse trees and rocky terrain of TePapa, the particular range I was headed toward. The Maori, the native peoples of New Zealand named it Te Papa, in their language it means ?our place? and in their savage history it was the burial place of many a chief and princess.
From the bottom of TePapa I had to hike through 6 miles of lush native forest to the caves entrance. The path was narrow and surrounded on all sides by the thick fauna, Pukeko and Fantails darted from tree to tree singing there early morning tribute to the forest., Every now and then I would hear a rustle and stop crouching to see what was ahead, out of the thick brush a deer would emerge holding its head high its antlers raised in defiance of my trespassing on its land. With a grunt and nostrils flaring it would take off at a run back to its wild untamed world. Dew fell from the hanging branches like torrential rain onto my face and clothing soaking me by the time I reached the caves entrance.
A shiny new sign hung arrogantly at the entrance warning people not to enter the caves alone, its shiny letters glared in artificially in contrast to the untainted surroundings. The caves entrance was dark and uninviting, a lime green moss grew on the rocks and the limbs of the silver ferns wavered in the wind like arms beckoning me to enter.
The first thing I noticed as I walked into the cave was the musty, rank odor which seemed to come from all around me and soak into my clothes and equipment. I switched on my headlight to get a better look at what I was getting into. My breath caught in my throat as I gazed in awe around me. The ground was strewn with rocks of all shapes and sizes some red some brown some covered in green moss. I could dimly make out the vague form of mighty stalagmites rising from the rocky floor ahead. The walls were not flat as most of the cave I had been they were carved out into little ledges, cliffs and hills sticking sideways out of the rocky walls each a different color of sedimentary rock. It looked like a giant mural carved and painted by god. Directly ahead I saw my first obstacle a wall of solid rock, after consulting my map guide I knew I had to climb it. I attached my caribena to the already inplace climbing rope and began to make my way up the cliff. Adrenaline began to rush through my body as I left the ground behind me. My movements seemed to flow as my feet found holds in the hard, dry rock and my fingers searched the terrain ahead of me for a grip. I was pressed against the rock my face inches from the musky lichen. I struggled over the top and just lay for a minute to catch my breath, my ragged gasps pierced the silence of the cave, but there was another noise faint in the distance. I consulted my map and compass and took the left tunnel of two small openings off to my left. The further I went the smaller the tunnel got and I had to turn my light out and take my helmet off as I squeezed my way through. In a strange way I suppose it felt like being born again, it is often said that caving is enjoyable because of this.
I could tell I was getting closer to the noise as I twisted through the belly of the mountain. A cavern appeared before me and I switched on my light. Running through the cavern was a stream, winding its way through the bedrock like a snake, clear and cold blooded. I waded through the stream letting the cool water run around my legs and soak my pants. Goosebumps traveled over my body.
At the other side I sat on a rock and just watched, watched the natural brilliance of the scene. I decided to turn my light off and let the darkness envelop me. With my light off my eyes were drawn upwards to little fluorescent green specks of light. Lying on my back I watched the glowworms, like stars on a clear night twinkle high above me, their fragile glimmer a reminder of the greatness of nature. I lay and watched for hours just enjoying the solitude, glad that there was still a place in the world untouched by technology.
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