Mt Herbert from Kaituna Valley

Saturday 23 May 2020

It was Day 59 of lockdown and new Level 2 Covid-19 rules about social distancing, car-pooling issues and group size restrictions to be considered but time to get tramping again. The track from the head of the Kaituna Valley provided a good opportunity, close enough to Christchurch so that people could take their own cars but far enough from the tracks on the Port Hills that many had traversed upwards, downwards and sideways during Levels 3 and 4.

Margot conducted the briefing to our suitably spaced group and then we set out up the track keeping to our maximum group size. The track climbs gradually but we felt we had a workout by the time we reached Te Ara Pataka near the crest of the ridge for morning tea. The north-east breeze was freshening by this time and low cloud was starting to cover the summit of Mt Herbert. More layers were added as we were exposed to the wind along the ridge towards little Mt Herbert. There we regrouped. The cloud had lowered, and visibility was restricted to occasional glimpses of Lyttelton Harbour. Margot headed back with two, who had decided that they had seen all that they were going to while the rest proceeded in the approximate direction of Mt Herbert. That summit was achieved for a brief photo opportunity of figures in the mist. We left when three four-wheel drive vehicles loomed out of the cloud, presumably to service the communication facilities on the peak although there did seem to be a high passenger to worker ratio.

Travel back down the ridge was almost pleasant with the wind behind us and relatively tropical once we had dropped off the ridge. We had stopped for lunch at the morning-tea spot before noticing the first group lunching further down the zigzags below. The numbers of people coming up the track were increasing including one group with two very vocal little girls, who we had been hearing for some time. Back to the cars for an early afternoon. It was great to be out, seeing people again and while it might not be tramping as we used to do, it was starting to feel like a dose of normality.

Trampers: Ian Beale, Mary Jane Bonsell, Mike Bourke, Margot Bowden (leader), Sue Britain, Derek Gane, Jean Hallam, Mary Korver, Geoff Korver, Kerry Moore, Valerie Saxton, Shi Ping Wang and Gary Huish (GH)

Another Executive Committee meeting? Photo courtesy of Kerry Moore.

‘..or people wandering with their head in the clouds’. Photo courtesy of Kerry Moore