I’m one of the lucky ones. Some people would debate that …….. but I’m not ‘some people’! It was kind of handy to have had two of them who, with my older brother, tested the waters, tried and tired the parents, cleared the path (so to speak) and generally got all the angst and worry out of our parents before me and my little brother embarked on our teenage years . Sisters …. I am the third daughter of what was to become a family of five siblings …. three girls, two boys. By the time my younger brother and I arrived (just 13 months between us) the parents were prepped. Our antics were hardly noticed …….. or was it that we were just really good?!
So today it was with my two older sisters I went with our mum for a ‘walk’ about the Port Hills of Christchurch. To be fair it was Mum’s idea – she was a mountain goat in another life and so had a hankering to wander the hills. My two sisters had decided the nicest walk for an ‘aging, but definitely not old’ mother was one of the many tracks gracing Victoria Park. “Not the Laurie Ell though – I’m not walking the Laurie Ell track” mother kept insisting. It was no problem to keep off the ‘Harry Ell Walkway’ because there were so many tracks to choose from after all!
After 5 minutes of perusing the faded and scratched Park Map we (I include myself in this ‘we’ but in reality I had little to contribute to what direction the next hour or two took) decided to follow our noses in the general direction of the ‘Sign of the Kiwi’ – one of the many rest houses built in the early 1900’s along the Summit Road – figuring if we kept going uphill we couldn’t go much wrong. Built in 1916 the Sign of the Kiwi houses a lovely café with the promise of nice views over Christchurch if it’s a clear day – and today it was.
So we started off on what looked a ‘nice’ track – impressed we were with the flora and fauna, admiring the condition of the track, stopping not far in to comment on the old stone building we happened along – just settling into what we thought was going to be a ‘pleasant’ and memorable walk ……… just us four girls, Mum and her daughters………sigh! Such a shame to find ourselves two minutes later back on the road we drove in on …
Plan B (but not the Laurie Ell Track pleaded Mum again) was needed, and the track we finally chose would have been a challenge in parts for most – but not for us girls. We got up the rocky, slippery, steep and in some parts sheer cliff facing path with a lot of team effort, discussion, and girl power. There was team effort like you’ve never seen – big sisters pushing and pulling Mother up and over the tricky bits …… me scrambling about camera in hand trying to capture their best sides, Mother laughing like I’ve never heard before in my life!
Advantaged with Mothers past life Mountain Goat genes, we finally made it to the Summit Road in about an hour and a half and walked around the road to Sign of the Kiwi Rest house. Sustained with a Decaf Vanilla Chi Latte our ‘aging but not old’ Mother was ready to ‘hit the track’ again – the walk back being all downhill and so taking about 20 minutes. ‘This is so much easier’ said mum striding ahead, greeting and chatting to fellow walkers passing by. ‘Yes’, said the older sisters, ‘this is the Harry Ell Track’.
It was me who lagged on the walk back to the car ‘I knew I should have used the toilet at the Rest House’ I thought as I minced along the track trying to think of ANYTHING other than the need to pee! After what felt like hours of mind games I arrived back at my car – well behind my AWESOME older ‘who set the bar so high I can’t possibly reach it’ sisters, and our very BRAVE ‘aging but DEFINITELY not old’ 85 year old mother. xxx