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Heels 1978

Autumn Traverse

Autumn Traverse

One Saturday afternoon, around the middle of March(i.e.the fifteenth) I decided to take a rest from the drudgery of cleaning the toilet and changing records and so I sat down.

While I was sitting contemplating the view from the 209 lounge window, and trying to focus on the B.P.clock, the green hills of Mount Victoria loomed into sight and seemed almost to beckon me to them. I was reminded of Sir Edmund Hilary's mortal words "because it was there" and made up my mind right then to attempt an ascent that very afternoon. With those lush hills imprinted on my brain, I stood up and did a few knee-bends. As this left me quite breathless, I sat down again and started preparing a few lists. Ten minutes and two brews later, I was completely organised and pinned my whereabouts note beside the telephone. It read:

If not back by Monday night,

Ring Peter Melling.

Do Not Ring Police.

I left it unsigned and hoisting my pack- canary-yellow, 'H' frame, heavy-duty canvas, Mountain Mule- onto my back, I set off in brilliant sunshine up the gentle incline that is The Terrace.

At Church Street steps I decided that it was time for a scroq page 19stop and tucked into some dried fruit and nuts, deciding against another brew as it was only two minutes from the last. At this particular point in time I remembered that I had forgotten that bane of all female trampers, toilet paper; but as there were several public toilets en route,I agreed with myself that it wasn't really necessary on this trip.

Rehoisting my pack (canary yellow, 'H'-frame, heavy duty canvas Mountain Mule) onto my back, I psyched myself up for the precipitous descent and took a step forward and then another. Approximately 178 steps later I found myself near the bottom and meandered down the remaining slope, admiring the profusion of fennel along the sides, which contrasted noticeably with the greyness of the concrete right-of-way. This prompted me to look upwards and take note of the dramatic weather change that had occurred since I first set out; an ominous cloud had come over the sun. I did a quick mental check on the gear I had packed to ensure against just such a change, being two-toned chocolate-brown and oyster Norsewear balaclava, dark green line 7 industrial safety-model parka, royal blue oxford-weave 'backed' nylon overtrousers, sea shell-pink Kairanga woollen mills long-Johns, woollen flecked dachstein pre-shrunk mitts, ebony black oiled japara overmitts. As it didn't appear that these would be necessary immediately, the cloud having since moved, I set off once aqain in blazing sunshine. Deciding against leap-frogging the parking meters on Boulcott Street, as the tramp was more of a pleasant ramble than a fit trip, I headed on into the concrete and heavily-peopled jungle that used to be the Te Aro flats. Here I encountered all Manners of interesting fellow wanderers who neatly side-stepped my pack and I as we chundered along towards the next munchies stop, ie Pidgeon Park. After a King's feast of peanut-butter sandwiches and a take-away brew from the nearby hamburger joint, I set off once more, the Victoria foothills now in my sights. Courtenay Place flat presented no obstacle and before I knew where I was, I found myself (once again) at Flannagans. Although a grog stop of a few ales wuold have gone down well, I decided to pit my last remaining strength against the slope and banks of Marjorie. However, halfway up I was accosted by a fellow VUWTC stalwart flower and daisy who, in true tramping tradition, diverted my attentions true right to the Clyde Quay. Consoling myself with the thought that greater people than I had suffered a similar fate, I piked.

- Robanon.

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