This week I was very adventurous. I walked up a mountain!
Okay. It was more of a hill. But it was a really, really BIG hill. The kind with zigzag paths and steps to climb.
Here’s the thing though.
Rochelle Elliot does not climb hills.
Let me take you back to a time when Rochelle Elliot did climb hills.
In my teenage years, I was quite the seasoned climber. We lived at the top of Harbour View Road. The very top. From the bottom of the hill to the top was just over one kilometre, all upwards, except a wee bit in the middle that sort of evened out to give your legs enough of a break to make the last push upwards for home.
It wasn’t easy. But on the days I couldn’t mooch a ride off my cousin and his co-workers at the car yard on my way home, I had to hoist my back pack high and power walk upwards.
I was fit. I was strong. And I was quick…
Quick to retire from hill walking the moment my drivers licence was officially attained and I took ownership of my beautiful first car, an orange mini clubman with the same coloured roof and no stripes.
Since then, hills and my feet have remained aloof. I admire them from a distance, and bless my little petrol driven chariot for getting me up and down them.
However. Something happened last week. My sister Jacqui encouragingly suggested we fulfill the often talked about desire to walk to Butterfly Creek, as our Nana used to do. Now my desire had been shared in a sort of wistful, it will never happen but wouldn’t it be lovely, but it will never happen kind of way. However here was my lovely sister, keen and eager and feeling very positive about making this walking up the hill to Butterfly Creek thing an actual, real thing.
I did not hesitate to offer up a number of very worthwhile excuses;
- It sounded like hard work.
- We could surely find something with less of a gradient to achieve, perhaps something involving pots of tea and hot chips?
- There is a law about not partaking in strenuous activities between Christmas and New Year. (If there isn’t there should be.)
- I don’t want to.
I stand by my very valid reasons. But here’s where something happened, and we should consider the possibility it may have involved some kind of voodoo mind control by external forces. For I awoke on Friday morning and thought,
“Well, it’s sunny and warm and how hard could it be?”
We chose to begin our Butterfly Creek adventure from Muritai Road, beside the bus barn in Eastbourne. The other start point is Kowhai Street in Eastbourne.
It was hard. All the hideous hill memories came flooding back and I won’t lie, there were murderous moments on the upward incline. It’s okay. My sister is still alive. Mostly because my burning thighs couldn’t catch up to her 5 metres ahead on the track. And to her full credit, and showing her strength and determination, she remained positive and happy in the face of by moaning and complaining and evil glares.
And you know what, the walk to Butterfly Creek is hard, but it’s also quite fabulous! The flat bits are lovely. Dappled sunshine softly warmed us through the canopy of native fauna. Plenty of opportunities to give the tired, over stimulated brain a bit of rest and relaxation, and how nice is it to switch off all the electronic devices and gently stumble through the bush that sits right on our door step, and we so often take for granted?
We were an eclectic bunch of bush walkers. The kids brought a cricket bat with them, taking turns to carry it and transform it in to walking stick or wasp zapper when needed. We all sort of fanned out along the track and tried our best not to hold up the real hikery walkery types, with their fearsome thighs and strong calf muscles, wrapped tightly in active sports wear leggings. running up the steps like they were on an escalator at David Jones and some one had just announced the Kate Spade beautiful things were half price!
There were no Kate Spades, but Butterfly Creek is lovely. There are no butterflies. It’s best you know that before you get going. The name doesn’t have a clear origin, but it is thought it came about from a shape seen when looking up at the hill, where a lighter coloured section of bush was shaped like a butterfly.
But even without butterflies, after the upward hike, you will find a peaceful picnic spot, a beautiful beech tree forest, and a sunny creekside spot to reflect on the history of the area.
In the 1940’s, Butterfly Creek was a camping ground, and there was even a kiosk up the hill there, selling cups of tea and scones! And the people who camped there would walk down to Eastbourne to the local movie theatre, and then hike back over the hill by torch light when their film was finished.
Now this was before they put the zigzags in the track. What does that tell you about how fit and active those people were? They probably skipped up to Butterfly Creek, their powerful and sturdy legs carrying them upwards, nattering and nibbling on their left over popcorn!
We had our lunch under the beech trees. Our cookie time cookies were well deserved, and my marmite and cheese sandwiches gave me sustenance for the return leg, this time via the Kowhai Track.
Gluteous Sore-eous and burnis thigh-eous. We stumbled from the track a bit sweaty and a bit tired, but yes, begrudgingly, I had to admit to my sister that it indeed felt good to have challenged myself.
It’s not the kind of thing I would ever choose to do. Rochelle Elliot still doesn’t like hills. But it was an excellent start to my very loose idea of being more active and mildly more fit in 2017. And the icecream at the end was delicious!
So maybe, after Butterfly Creek, we can say:
Rochelle Elliot does not climb (many) hills.
My next adventure might have less inclines and more reclines. A nice walk some where flat, maybe close to a cafe that sells hot chips? I think it’s very important to load up on carbs when you’re being adventurous.
Butterfly Creek Info: http://tracks.org.nz/track/show/96