August 21st 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1

Val + I were up pretty early – Steve had threatened to throw cold water over us otherwise.  We decided to take a hike on our own up Mt Roberts – Steve took Chickie to the hospital, but called us before we left to tell us not to bother with the mountain as it was covered in cloud.  We did then have to re-think our plans, but hadn’t properly decided upon an alternative, when Steve + Chickie returned.  Steve was much happier now – I think the doctor had been more encouraging.  So we planned for 5 of us – except Chickie who had to stay in for a carpet to be delivered – to go on a hike together.  We packed up some lunch, + drove 19 miles north to a trail which led up to Herbert Glacier.  Steve’s mum looked funny – she always wears a dress, but on this occasion she had also been equipped with hiking boots + an anorak.

The trail was very wet – Steve had to carry me through one puddle, but for the most part I was able to dodge the mud + water.  At one point, where the trail ran close to the river, it had collapsed into the river itself, and very recently too, so far as we could judge, so for 30 yards we had to fight to clear a trail thro’ some pretty dense forest.  Then we plodded on for quite a way going fairly slowly because of Steve’s mum, + stopping for lunch at a fallen tree.  After that, slowly the trail became more difficult, scrambling across small streams etc, and a little way from the glacier, Steve, Val + I went on alone to get right up to it.  Unfortunately, despite battling thro’ bushes + over rocks, we weren’t able to make it – the river had risen too high, so we had to turn back.  Of course, now that we were in the open, the rain came fairly pouring down, and continued to do so all the way back.  Surprisingly, we got back quite quickly, despite several stops for rests, Steve, Val + I picking blueberries, + Steve’s mum decreasing speed – his parents still did incredibly well.

At the end, Steve ran on + drove the car up the trail a short way to pick the drowned rats up + ferry them home.  Still, in the evening, a beautiful meal, followed by lots of wine, sat around a roaring fire, resting + chatting.

 I’ll repeat, Steve’s parents were amazing, not only tackling a difficult trail, but doing so with remarkable grace and humour.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    They’ve probably been hiking in those mountains all their lives, and because, they really aren’t that old (as you must realize, now that you’re probably older than they were then).

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