After WEEKS of rain, the weekend forecast looked spectacular. By spectacular I mean sunny, 18 C, and still. Not windy, even in the mountains. It was NOT a weekend to stay in the city.
We packed up the kids Saturday morning, stopped for some pies at the Sheffield pie shop, got some candy bribery at the gas station, and drove up to Porter’s Pass through the Torlesse Range. It’s a lowish pass on the dry side (our side) of the mountains leading up to Arthur’s Pass where a couple trails lead off into the hills. Trig Peak was our goal, an achievable 350 meter climb starting right off the highway.
The first hurdle was the shoes. Naomi would have to wear the perfectly functional hiking boots that Milo had grown out of a few months ago. She put up a noisy rejection, which I was temped to squash with a swift “don’t be ridiculous, you’re wearing these because we have them” Mother Statement…which would have been completely ineffectual. Instead I resorted to compromise, and suggested adding some decorations. We raided my sewing box.
It took about 10 minutes to sew on a red felt flower, three purple flowers, an orange sparkly ribbon and a pink bead. The mood changed immediately. Compromise was much easier than unbending practicality after all.
Bling bling shoes not withstanding, 50 meters from the car Naomi declared that her legs were tired. “We’re not carrying you,” Jeremiah reassured her, unsympathetically. I had stashed the old Ergo carrier in my backpack just in case, but was glad Jeremiah was along to brazen it out. Milo ran ahead and hid along the trail (yes, lower down some of the bushes were big enough to conceal a small boy), and we were off on the hunt.
Mid way up the hill there was a pile of rocks. No pile of rocks will be left to molder in peace when a 6 year old boy could action them!
The walking poles don’t actually propel small bodies forward and upward, but they provide a welcomed distraction. You can see the road to the wet coast below.
Trig peak! Everyone reached the top on their own two legs! Milo made sure that he got to the very top of the old survey marker. The dog (named Fish….um, yeah….no, he’s not ours) looked on quizzically.
More rocks! These ones he built into a wind shelter. There was hardly any breeze, but the shelter was still a good idea….most days it would be welcomed. As it was, we were able to linger on the exposed top enjoying the view with our lunch. Both kids pooped in a tussock. Necessities don’t wait.
Milo uncovered a Weta, a special Kiwi bug (wait, that sounds funny….a NZ bug) that I’ve never seen in the wild before. It had these four very neat little palpae that looked like they were tasting the ground as it went along.
I can’t finish an alpine hike without a tribute to the tough plants that live up there. “It’s a nice day today,” I told Milo, “but tonight these plants are going to freeze, and last week they were whipped around by the wind, then they get baked dry by the blistering sun.” This one is a little coprosma, believe, and with the alpine form all the branches are hidden under a tight mass of leaves, making it look like a moss with pearls.
Treats back at the car, followed by a nap on the way home. Well done, kids.