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Word Count: 890
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
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