Saturday, January 5, 2013

Rapaki Track - A Sunday Morning Walk

Erin and Stephen invited us to meet them for a tramp today. They were starting up the Port Hills from their place and suggested we head up the Rapaki track and meet them on the Summit Road where we could look down into Lyttleton Harbour. We "slipped on a shirt, slopped on the sunscreen and slapped on a hat" and headed out.

Joy gave her hat to Andrew.

Leaving behind the suburbs we climbed up the Port Hills, actually the sides of a long collapsed volcano, the core of which is the now the harbour. Lyttleton harbour is the largest harbour on the South Island and the community hosts a popular farmers' market every Saturday.

Looking at the Port Hills from the inside of the caldera while waiting for a latte.
The hills are mostly pasture for sheep on one side of the track and beef up the hill. One large willow provided some welcome shade about half way up. There was a strong warm wind blowing downslope. At one point we thought we heard a horde of cicada but it was the wind humming the high tension wires of a nearby transmission line. We know what we wanted to hear and were sympathetic to people who live near these arteries of modern civilization.

At the top we met Erin, Stephen and Hector and rested briefly with the runners and cyclists who were out in considerable numbers. Looking over into the harbour Erin pointed out a couple of places including an island in the channel where Shackleton kept his dogs in 1914 before embarking on his Trans-Antarctic expedition. Shackleton's leadership on this disasterous four year expedition ensured that not a single man was lost, a model for contemporary leadership training. They also got to miss the bulk of the First World War which they hurried back to once they found out it wasn't yet over.

Going down was pleasant but Hector had had enough travelling by then. We took breaks whenever shade offered and giggled together as we witnessed all the small wonders of the world. Our last stop was under a Manuka bush, the source of a healthy New Zealand honey and a tough hard wood that Stephen used in making the batons for his kubb game.

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