Mt. Richardson – Canterbury Foothills

‘Well, this was a waste of time!’ Ian announced as we arrived at the summit. Considering the effort it had taken to get here, I thought he would have been a little more ecstatic. He stood with his hands on his hips and shook his head from side to side. I personally thought it was quite a nice view.

What started well…

We were at Mt. Richardson, the next in the list of peaks that make up the Canterbury Foothills. We had recruited Scott, from Craigieburn fame, to join us on the trip. And I will admit that my initial excitement at the additional company was slightly dampened by the lack of Zeus, which I really felt was the ‘Fizz’ in the ‘Bucks Fizz’ partnership of Scott and Zeus. But Scott did bring a nice hat, which compensated nicely.

I was a little apprehensive as we set off from the large, grassy car park, mainly as it sounded as if we were walking into a forest sized wasps nest. The faint buzzing noise of thousands of black and yellow horrible flying things was everywhere. However, it may have been apt because if a wasp was a walking track, then it would be the Mt. Richardson summit track – a relentless, steep ascent with absolutely no redeeming features.

At times, the trail amounted to an awkward scramble over muddy ledges and under fallen trees – as if the forest was doing its best to prevent us from enduring the experience any longer. A warning that no better was to come. That it wasn’t worth it.

… ended badly


Or more likely, doing exactly what a wasp would do if it was a walking track.

With the canopy coverage obscuring any possible views that would improve the walk, it was left to Rusty and me to provide some entertainment for the humans. We ran back and forth between Ian and Scott, trying our best to inject some energy into the excursion. They generally responded with sweating profusely, breathing heavily, and emitting a tirade of unsavoury language.

Good times, I thought to myself with a roll of my eyes and a fake smile.

You would have thought, seeing as it was Ian’s idea, that he would have made more of an effort to put a positive spin on things, but it appeared that bone had been buried once the wasp metaphor had been sufficiently developed. However, the sting in the… abdomen, so to speak… you know what I mean, was still to come.

From out of nowhere, a small, green sign emerged from the bushes, declaring that we had made it to the summit.

I gathered from his fist waving and short exchanges with Scott that Ian wasn’t overly impressed with only half a view from the top. On one side was the Lees Valley and Puketaraki Range, and the other were… trees, that did a lovely job of blocking views over the Canterbury Plains and the east coast.

‘Well what was the point in that then?’ Ian shouted at the forest. I don’t think he was even being rhetorical, he wanted an answer. I guess he was expecting a panoramic, uninterrupted 360 degree view, free from the scars of civilisation. So the sight of neatly arranged, well irrigated fields may have spoiled the adventure a bit. So why he was so annoyed at not being able to see the Canterbury Plains, which basically consists of neatly arranged, well irrigated fields, is anyone’s guess.

Personally, I thought it was quite nice. The four of us spending time together. The sun was shining. There was no one aroun –

‘It’s going to take ages to walk back, too!’ Ian interrupted, evidently still angry at the situation he had bestowed upon us. It appeared the return track was a further distance than the route we had just come up, and Ian’s stubbornness at not returning via the wasp track meant we would be out for several more hours.

During the extended walk back to the truck, I couldn’t help think that Ian may have started taking this country for granted a little. Considering that he lived in London for several years before moving out to New Zealand, you would have thought he’d be a little more appreciative of any view that wasn’t obscured by concrete.

I went to explain that he may have been spoilt somewhat with the experiences we had shared together so far, and be grateful that he is in a position where he is fortunate enough to go on these tri –

‘Quiet Oshy!’

I don’t know why I bother sometimes.

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