Mount Bradley - Again
There comes a time in a mature hiker's life when certain questions loom as large as the trip one is contemplating. Take, for example, the circumnavigation of Mount Bradley on Banks Peninsula. Can my legs (or feet, or knees, etc.) still do this? Climb this much? Walk this far? Even with my magic pills?
A Rather Grunty Trip
In 2013 my hiking friend and I did this rather grunty trip. We have loved Mount Bradley for years now - maybe that sounds really silly, but there it is. He's gorse, grass, and bush-covered, 855m high, and has various scary rock climbing routes up his northern escarpments. We just go round him. This is challenge enough!
Actually, the greatest challenge last time was the gorse. Some of his slopes had become gorse-infested, and parts of the track around his backside (oops - his northern flanks) were impossibly 'gorsy'. Here the path was no wider than a sheep track, and the scratchy gorse reached up head-high.
An Easy Track
This time we knew that some track maintenance had been done. Feeling optimistic, we brought Non-Gardening Partner along to take photographs (and make our party safer - two may be company, but three's so much better). I guess we went on a bit about our past experiences with the vegetation. 'Oh, you should have seen the gorse. As high as a double decker bus.' That sort of thing. Like the fish that got away...
Great news - the backside track from the Kaituna Saddle was much, much improved. Even the zig-zag climb up to the top escarpments was easy (last time it was narrow and wobbly). And where exactly was this terrible, monster gorse? Non-Gardening Partner kept on asking. At the Mount Herbert Saddle we met a DOC worker. Yes, they were clearing the track. He'd been at it for over three weeks. Ha! Proof!
Around the front of Mount Bradley we enjoyed sun, rocky grassland, and sparkling views of Lyttleton Harbour. Finally we rejoined the Kaituna Saddle. Tired legs! But we'd been on the trail for seven hours. A final short rest for food and drink outside the Packhorse Hut, then off down the farm track to the valley (head torches on) and the car.
Wow. We did it, rather easily actually, with tiny stops every hour, lots of water, nutritious snacks, and great company. Such a groovy gorse-free day. Time to check out the statistics, do a wriggly fly-over with Google Earth, and be very, very impressed, I reckon!
Mount Bradley Trip - Looking Back