On Easter monday Stephen announced he was going to climb Mt Herbert and I was more than welcome to join him. The forecast was for mostly cloudy and chance of showers in the evening. This was good enough for me so join him I did.
We quickly packed our leftover pizza in a box, stashed some apples and peaches in a yogurt container and stuffed the rest of the chocolate in our pockets. Some water and our rain jackets in Stephens' pack - oh, don't forget the camera - and we were off to Lyttleton.
As we emerged from the Lyttleton tunnel the clouds hung low over the hills, obscuring our destination for the day. With plenty of optimism we locked the doors and wandered down to the ferry dock. The ferry between Lyttleton and Diamond Harbour (where we were going) is a part of the municipal bus service so we could use our bus cards to catch the 10 minute ride across the bay. Despite its' shortness in length, the feeling of getting out on the water really worked wonders in making me feel like we were really getting away from the city. The magic of boats - I've always loved them.
By the time we got off the boat in Diamond Harbour the clouds were lifting and we could see the table top summit we were heading for. So off down the trail we went.
The trail wanders up a steep little valley from a rocky beach with houses on either side. Heavily forested - or rather, gorsed - it feels quite cozy and secretive. We even found a giant nest tucked into the crook of a tree. I quickly jumped in to play, but the trail was calling (or was that Stephen?), so the stop was not for long. Not much further on we cross a road and clambered over a fence into a sheep paddock, the trees dropped away and the trail climbed upwards ahead of us.
The trail itself is mostly on private land and all in paddocks. Sheep, horses, and cows wander along the track and stare quite disconcertingly at you as you pass by. But the scenery was lovely and the animals kept to themselves so onwards we marched. Up and up and up.
Towards the top the wind was starting to really pick up. In fact, if you stood facing into it and jumped you would go backwards. I was glad I had thrown my touque and scarf into the pack (though I missed my mitts) as we climbed the final section to reach the top. We quickly ducked down into a semi-protected nook on the other side of the summit to munch our cold pizza and hot cross buns. We watched as wisps of clouds were whipped past our heads and down into the valley below. Food gone, we packed up, spoke briefly with a couple of guys who had just arrived and headed back down.
At this point I was really missing my gloves. The middle two digits on my finger had gone sheet white from the second knuckle up, while the rest of my hand was bright red. After trying to warm them up against my skin, with my breath and up my sleeves, I decided the only way to warm them up was to get all of me warm. So we started running. It was either going to be my fingers or my knees. Fortunately, I warmed up pretty quickly (once I started running back uphill) and my fingers regained their normal hue.
The rest of the walk back was pretty uneventful - we saw more sheep. We stopped at the old hotel in town for some nice warm tea in their lovely garden. Then caught the ferry back to Lyttleton and home.